The commander of the nuclear-powered submarine USS Hampton has been relieved of his command amid an inquiry into misconduct by crew members. The misconduct was discovered on 17 September 2007, but not made public until after completion of an initial inquiry.
The misconduct probe exposes the following:
- The crew neither maintained inspection records nor conducted the required inspection of chemical levels associated with the cooling system of the ship’s nuclear reactor.
- The crew then went back and falsified existing records to make it appear the work had been done.
Follow up actions that have taken place:
- Cmdr. Michael B. Portland lost his post due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command. Cmdr. William J. Houston will replace Portland.
- Six personnel have been punished for forging inspection records for the cooling system. One officer and five enlisted personnel, received a nonjudicial punishment.
- One officer and two enlisted crew members have been temporarily reassigned to Submarine Squadron 11. Portland also will be temporarily reassigned to that squadron.
- A fact-finding investigation is under way, and further action against Navy crew members is possible.
Portland’s demotion brings to 10, the number of people relieved of duty on the submarine in the wake of the misconduct probe. The Hampton remains in port in San Diego, California. In all, the $900 million vessel’s crew includes 13 officers and 116 enlisted personnel.
OldSailor feels that maintenance of records and documentation in ships may have to be reviewed and simplified if necessary.
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