Danish delivery to Myanmar warship has been leaked. But was it intentional?

UMS Mottama in 2019.
UMS Mottama in 2019.

Leaked documents exposed that a Danish subsidiary of the German company MAN Energy Solutions supplied engines to the Myanmar military flagship, UMS Mottama, during the Rohingya genocide.

Through access to records, the Danish media Politiken recently found that it was the Ministry of Justice in Denmark who approved the sale back in February 2018, advised by The Danish Defense Materiel and Procurement Agency (FMI).

But that sale was forbidden – and Danish politicians are now demanding an explanation.

Meaningless sanctions or being deceived?

Since the military in Myanmar began to crack down on the Rohingyas – a muslim minority – over a million people have fled. At that time, the European Union and United Nations established sanctions to prevent sales of military equipment to the country.

“Even before 2018, it was forbidden to export or support parts or engines for military systems. So, I can’t understand how this sale could be approved from the Danish side,” Siemon Wezeman, an expert in EU arms sanctions at Sweden’s Research Institute Sipri, told Politiken.

So how was the sale possible?

Denmark is following suit 

Politiken reached out to the Ministry of Justice, who then passed on the responsibility to advisors from FMI. In an email they respond, that the approval was based on information from MAN Energy Solutions.

A spokesperson from MAN then explained to the Danish media, that their company was told, that the engines were supposed to be used on a civil ship.

The Danish parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee has now asked for an investigation – following suit by German police and South Korea, who has already opened criminal investigations into the transfer of the warship from its South Korean shipbuilders to Myanmar.

Source: Politiken and Myanmar NOW

About Sofie Rønnelund

Sofie Roennelund is a journalist working with ScandAsia at the headquarters in Bangkok.

View all posts by Sofie Rønnelund

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