Henrique Gouveia e Melo, chief of staff of Armada (EMA), returned to talk about the “serious act of indiscipline” by the ship’s sailors Mondego, the condition of the Navy fleet and the impact of the controversy on Portugal’s “allied” nations. He just refused to make “criticisms, comments or evaluations” to the words of Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who chose to emphasize the “importance of maintenance” of military equipment, instead of addressing the indiscipline of sailors signaled by the EMA.
In an interview with SIC this Friday night, um day after going up to the bow of the Mondego for a “grasp” to the ship’s crew (a term chosen by journalist Rodrigo Guedes de Carvalho, but rejected by Gouveia e Melo), the admiral refused to comment on the way in which the President of the Republic spoke of the subject: “I don’t have to find anything in the declarations of the President of the Republic. He is my supreme chief. I have to respect him, to obey”, he shot, although leaving an underline: “But I think for my head.”
Also this Friday, Marcelo guaranteed to maintain confidence in Gouveia and Melo after the failed mission of escorting a Russian ship. “It so happens that the President of the Republic and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces is the one who appoints the military leaders and, therefore, a military leader who is in office has the confidence of the President of the Republic, in addition to having that of the Government that proposes this appointment”, said, quoted by Lusa.
He also explained why, unlike Gouveia e Melo, he did not visit the ship: “We are talking about an ongoing process. We are in a democratic rule of law and this must be respected. What should have been done was done: verify the circumstances in fact. Now, listen to those involved. And then act accordingly.”
In the interview with SIC, EMA reiterated the “deep meaning”, also symbolic, of what it considers to have been an act of indiscipline towards the ship’s captain, who ordered the crew to prepare for sea: “Discipline does not it has ‘ifs’. It’s a necessity.”
The admiral also assured that he had ordered a verification, through technical bodies of the Navy, of the navigation conditions of the Mondego. “The answer I got was ‘yes’, I would go to sea. With limitations, but without putting the crew at risk.”
The 13 soldiers who refused to participate in the mission allege that the Mondego would have several mechanical failures that represented a risk to their safety, which is why they did not board. The group is now subject to disciplinary proceedings and will be heard by the Military Judicial Police next Monday. Regardless of their justifications, the entire 29-man crew will be replaced.