iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The Navy has relieved from duty another commanding officer that oversaw the 10 sailors who, this past January, were detained by Iran for 15 hours after the two boats they were aboard strayed into Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf.
Captain Kyle S. Moses, who commanded the Bahrain-based Task Force 56, was relieved of his duties Friday by Vice Adm. Kevin M. Donegan, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT).
“Capt. Moses was relieved due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command,” reads a Navy statement. “He has been temporarily reassigned to the NAVCENT staff.”
The two Riverine boats seized on Jan. 12 by Iranian vessels near Farsi Island had been operating as part of Task Force 56, which is responsible for expeditionary vessels operating in the Middle East. Riverine boats are designed to operate in harbor waters and shallow water areas.
The two Riverine boats were traveling from Kuwait to Bahrain when faulty navigational gear led them to stray into Iranian territorial waters near Farsi Island.
The Navy said Donegan took the action after a final review of the investigation into the circumstances that led to the sailors’ detention.
“Several weeks ago, I had initially taken what I felt was appropriate administrative and corrective action involving Capt. Moses based on the preliminary results of the investigation, which I began immediately after we recovered our Sailors,” said Donegan in the Navy statement. “However, after thoroughly examining the findings of the final, comprehensive investigation, I determined that this additional action was necessary.”
Moses is the second officer to be relieved of command following the incident. In mid May, Commander Eric Rasch was relieved of his command of the San Diego-based Riverine Squadron that oversaw the training and equipping of the detained sailors prior to their deployment to the Persian Gulf. A Navy statement at the time said “Rasch was relieved due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command.”
Defense officials say Admiral John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, plans to release the findings of the completed investigation next Thursday at a Pentagon news conference.
Additional personnel involved in the incident could face possible administrative action for the navigational mistakes that led to the incident as well as their behavior throughout the incident, according to defense officials.
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