A source linked to the defense told the Lusa agency that “there are evidences that are being erased” and that the Mondego ship “was completely cleaned” on Wednesday, before going to the location of two televisions. A plane loaded with material flew to Funchal to allow repairs to the ship, he added. The source said that the Portuguese Navy maintains that the Mondego ship was in “condition to leave” for sea and that this is “proved by an inspection”. But the said inspection was carried out by the Navy, without the presence of any other persons, and based on that, “they started making repairs on board the ship”, he said. The source assured that on Monday, when the 13 soldiers will be heard at the Military Judiciary Police (PJM), in the context of a criminal investigation,
The 13 soldiers who refused to board the ship Mondego on the 11th, alleging the vessel’s lack of safety, will be heard on Monday in two periods, in the morning (10:00) and in the afternoon (14:00). The military are defended by lawyers Paulo Graça and Garcia Pereira.
Last Thursday, Paulo Graça, in statements to Lusa, considered the statements made by the Navy’s Chief of Staff to be disturbing and criticized the “judgment in the public square” that has been carried out by the Navy. The lawyer said that the declarations of the Chief of Staff of the Navy were “disturbing”, because Gouveia e Melo “has already expressed a judgment” about the facts that were committed, “this judgment having been expressed without the persons concerned having the opportunity to speak of their justice or to defend themselves”.
On the night of the 11th, the NRP (Portuguese Republic Ship) Mondego did not carry out a mission to accompany a Russian ship north of the island of Porto Santo, in Madeira, because 13 of the garrison’s soldiers (four sergeants and nine soldiers) refused to board for security reasons. Contacted by Lusa on Thursday, the PJM Public Relations officer confirmed that “a group of military personnel was notified to report to the PJM next Monday”, to be “heard by a PJM criminal investigation team, within the scope of the criminal investigation”. He added that it was a crime of a “strictly military” nature and of an “urgent nature”. Although no further details were provided regarding these criminal charges,
The head of the Navy, Gouveia e Melo, in statements on Thursday in the port of Funchal, criticized the soldiers on the Mondego ship who disobeyed orders, saying that the case is of “very serious gravity”. “The Navy cannot forget, ignore, or forgive acts of indiscipline, whether the soldiers are tired, unmotivated or worried about their own realities”, he stressed, directly questioning the rebelling soldiers: “What interests did you defend? Only united will we overcome difficulties and you have disunited us.”
Among the various technical limitations invoked by the military to refuse to board the ship was the fact that an engine and an electric power generator were inoperative. The Navy confirmed that the Mondego ship had “a fault in one of the engines”, but said that warships “can operate in a very degraded mode without impact on safety”, since they have “very complex and very redundant systems”.
This will be a story that will go on and on, with cover up after cover up no doubt, and the innocent will be to blame.