Senior Officer On Damaged Ship To Be Relieved Of Command

By ROBERT BURNS ,  AP National Security Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Navy says the commanding officer of a warship that lost seven sailors in a collision off the coast of Japan will be relieved of command, and nearly a dozen other sailors face punishment.

Adm. William Moran, the No. 2 Navy officer, told reporters at the Pentagon Thursday that the actions are to be taken shortly, although the Navy's investigation into how and why the USS Fitzgerald collided with the container ship in June has not yet been completed.

Moran says the commander of the Navy's 7th Fleet, based in Japan, is removing the top three sailors — the commanding officer, the executive officer and the command master chief — from duty aboard the Fitzgerald.

Moran says they and others will face non-judicial punishments yet to be determined.

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