The Chief of Staff of the Navy, Henrique Gouveia e Melo, stressed this Wednesday that discipline is the “essential glue” of the Armed Forces and that the investigation into the process of insubordination on the ship Mondego it will “run out quickly”.
After a conference with students at Escola de São Pedro, in Vila Real, the admiral made a statement to the media about the episode in which 13 Navy personnel refused to board the ship Mondegoin Funchal, focusing the message on the issue of discipline and announced that on Thursday he will speak with the crew of the vessel, in Madeira.
“One thing I can guarantee everyone: there is no Armed Forces without discipline. Discipline is the essential glue of the Armed Forces. On the day that we are undisciplined, on the day that we do not believe in the command line, on the day that that command line is subverted, we will be without Armed Forces”, he stressed.
And he continued: “Tomorrow (Thursday) I will speak to my garrison, in Madeira, and I will say what I think of the process. But I repeat again, there is no Armed Forces in any country without discipline. The Armed Forces are demanding, they require sacrifices, risks and discipline is essential as the glue of the Armed Forces”.
The Chief of Staff of the Navy began by saying that the process of insubordination on the ship Mondego is a matter that is “being dealt with”, “being analyzed in every detail”, stating that he wants to be sure “of the details”.
Gouveia e Melo said that the “investigation will end quickly”. “Because we favor quick results, but they have to be safe”, he underlined.
As for the military, he only said that they will comply with Portuguese law and the corresponding disciplinary regulations.
Despite being questioned about the Navy’s means and equipment maintenance, Henrique Gouveia e Melo insisted, once again, on focusing the message on discipline.
“We, the Navy, do not send ships out to sea to carry out missions when we consider that these ships pose a risk to the crews and that is up to the Navy hierarchy, the ship’s commander, the ship’s mate, the ship’s officers and , then the senior sergeants,” he said.
The admiral added: “The ship’s captain is ultimately responsible for his ship and that captain did not tell us that the ship was at risk of fulfilling the mission we assigned it. And so we have to believe that there is a hierarchy of structured people, prepared to perform both functions and, once again, it is a problem of discipline”.
“This hierarchy cannot be replaced by a garrison group that starts to decide whether or not to do the missions because, if not, we fall into the ridiculousness of one day having to have a general meeting before each mission and with our arms in the air we vote whether or not we are going to carry out the mission”, he said.
The NRP (Ship of the Portuguese Republic) Mondego did not carry out a mission on Saturday night to accompany a Russian ship north of the island of Porto Santo, in Madeira, because 13 elements (four sergeants and nine enlisted on the ship) refused to embark for reasons of security.
After the incident, the Navy announced that it will proceed with disciplinary proceedings against the military and ordered an inspection of the security conditions of the NRP Mondego.
Among the various technical limitations invoked by the military was the fact that an engine and an electrical power generator were inoperative.
The Navy, meanwhile, confirmed that the NRP Mondego had “a failure in one of the engines”, but referred that warships “can operate in a very degraded mode without impact on safety”, since they have “very complex systems and very redundant”.
Henrique Gouveia e Melo is in Vila Real today to participate in two conferences on the theme “Citizenship and Defense”, at the secondary schools of São Pedro and Camilo Castelo Branco, organized by the Youth Academy association, the municipality of Vila Real, educational establishments and associations of Students.