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The commanding officer of a submarine tender based in Diego Garcia was fired Friday after his ship struck a channel buoy in June, the Navy said Friday. He is the 13th CO fired this year.
Capt. Eric Merrill, a career submariner, was in command of sub tender Emory S. Land on June 21, when the ship hit a channel buoy while heading into Mina Salman, a port of Bahrain, Cmdr. Christy Hagen, spokeswoman for Submarine Force Pacific, said in a statement Friday.
No sailors were injured in the incident, but the sub tender has been in Bahrain, "where it is currently making preparations for repairs," Hagen said.
The full extent of the damage was not immediately available.
After an investigation, Rear Adm. Phillip Sawyer, commander of Task Force 74/54, relieved Merrill for "loss of confidence in his ability to command," Hagen said. Merrill was awarded non-judicial punishment on Friday for violation of Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 110, improper hazarding of a vessel.
Merrill, who had taken command of Emory S. Land in September 2010, could not be reached immediately for comment. He has been administratively reassigned to Submarine Force Pacific.
Capt. Thomas Stanley, a previous CO of the sub tender Frank Cable, has assumed command until a permanent replacement is named, Hagen said.