Toxic formaldehyde vapors were found in the engine rooms of a German warship, ahead of an official visit by German politicians. As the cause is investigated, German engineers are required to wear protective gas marks.
During a routine inspection traces of the carcinogenic gas formaldehyde were discovered on a corvette class warship, as the result of diesel fumes. Engineers working on any of the five ships of this class must wear gas masks until the source of the leak can be discovered. The corvette class ships are relatively new additions to the German Navy, costing €1.2 billion ($1.5 billion).
The toxic fumes were first discovered on a cruiser as part of a routine inspection, according to the German newspaper The Local. This came about ahead of an official tour of the vessel. The tour was to be led by the commander of the German Navy Vice Admiral Axel Schimpf, who had invited various politicians and dignitaries to view the boat as part of the Kieler Woche sailing regatta.
The incident, as well as being a safety concern, as Bild am Sonntag reports, has caused some embarrassment for the German Navy and is being investigated within the German Parliament.
Reportedly the K130 Braunschweig class warships have suffered other problems, including defective gears, software and air conditioning systems, since their launch.
The ships are the newest additions to the German Navy, capable of a speed of 26 knots (48 km/h; 30 mph). The warships can carry two helicopters and have mine laying capabilities. There are 87 commissioned ships in the German Navy, including 4 submarines and 36 auxiliary ships.