US sailors detained by Iran: Navy Officer relieved of his duties

US sailors detained by Iran – The US navy has relieved the officer who oversaw 10 sailors captured and detained by Iran during the earlier parts of the year.

US sailors detained by Iran

The Navy states the reason for the officer’s dismissal as ‘lack of confidence’ in his abilities. The announcement was made by the Navy on Thursday.

US sailors detained by Iran – became hot news and a topic of discussion worldwide. Cmdr. Eric Rasch was relieved of his duties as the commanding officer of the Coastal Riverine – Squadron No. 3. At the time of the incident, Rasch had only recently become the commander of the unit after having served as the 2nd in command before that.

The commander of the group, Capt. Gary Leigh made the decision to relieve Rasch of his duties after a preliminary investigation into the incident had been carried out.

US sailors detained by Iran near the Farsi Island in the Arabian Gulf. The incident had occurred on January 12 and 13. No statement from Rasch has yet been made public.

The squadron was very far from its port and its duty on the Arabian Gulf was of offer security and escort to other ships. The sailors were on a transit boat at the time which is a usual occurrence.

The navy has not released the comprehensive results of the investigation that it carried out, however, it has been known all along that the crew made repeated mistakes that landed them in Iranian territory where they were captured.

‘US sailors detained by Iran ‘was plastered all across the global newspapers and became a source of humiliation for the sole superpower.

Navy officials have revealed that more sailors could be facing disciplinary charges. These actions are not made public. It is hoped that the full investigation will be completed by the end of this month.

Rasch was responsible for training around 400 sailors. He had been recently promoted to a higher rank. This happened before the result of the investigation came out.

The sailors were captured by Iran’s elite Revolutionary guards on January 12 when six vessels from the IRGC converged on the two boats. American sailors were blindfolded and separately interrogated.

The preliminary report stated that the sailors had set out for Bahrain from Kuwait but they lost their way and headed towards the Farsi Island which is located in the Persian Gulf.

The report found that several factors may have contributed to the failure:

  • The sailors had never made the trip before.
  • They had been up most of the night before conducting maintenance on one of the boats that had broken down.
  • They had to “cannibalize” parts from a third boat in order to have two working vessels.
  • They then experienced problems with their satellite communications gear.

All of this led them to leaving port later than planned.
In addition, they did not conduct a standard operational briefing for themselves prior to setting sail, during which they would have fully reviewed their route and navigation plan.

The approved navigation path would have had them sail in international waters between the Iranian coastline and the eastern side of Farsi Island as they moved south toward Bahrain. Instead, they were significantly off course, sailing on the western side of the island.

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Bill Schroder

Bill Schroder is a Beirut-based correspondent for The World Beast. He has reported from over a dozen countries in the Middle East for such publications. Follow: Tweets by @SchroderBill