Danger down below deck! Toxic gas found on new German warships

Korvette Braunschweig (Image from wikipedia.org)
A naval warship tour given by the German Naval commander to politicians and media representatives turned out a big surprise: some of the crew were wearing masks due to toxic gas.

­Vice Admiral Axel Schimpf invited the politicians and media representatives on a tour of the “Braunschweig” corvette – currently docked at Kiel – as part of the Kieler Woche sailing regatta. But as it turned out, the five new German warships were filled with toxic vapors, forcing engineers to wear gas masks at all times.

The reason: traces of the carcinogenic gas formaldehyde were discovered during a pollution check of the diesel propulsion engines.

Formaldehyde has been classified as a known human carcinogen or cancer causing substance by  the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

The German Parliamentary Commissioner of the Armed Forces, Hellmut Königshaus, is now investigating the problem.

This is the latest in a raft of problems reported with the warships since their launch in 2006 – including defective gears, software and air conditioning systems that had to be replaced, the Bild am Sonntag newspaper reports.

Small, maneuverable, lightly-armed warships are Germany's newest class of ocean-going corvettes. The vessels have already cost the country 1.2 billion Euro.