Navy captain relieved of duty after boats run aground in Charleston Harbor

Picture of a similar CFD boat that responded to the April 2013 incident.
Picture of a similar CFD boat that responded to the April 2013 incident.

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Officials with the US Navy say Capt. Adrian Garcia was relieved of his duties on Tuesday following an investigation into the grounding of two Naval patrol boats in the Charleston Harbor that happened earlier this year.

On April 13, Coast Guard officials reported that a 34-foot Naval patrol boat had run across jetties and injured three sailors aboard the craft. Navy officials say another Naval patrol boat that had responded to the incident had also run aground in its efforts to provide help.

The Navy says Cmdr. Clay Wild will assume Garcia's duties of the Coastal Riverine Squadron 10 until Garcia's permanent replacement is found. The squadron is a Navy Reserve unit based in Jacksonville, Fla. which conducts port and harbor security and maritime security operations in rivers, harbors and coastal waterways.

A press release by the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command states Garcia, who was the acting commanding officer at the time of the incident, "demonstrated unsound judgement and poor operational risk management decision-making, failing to take responsible steps to prevent the incident from happening."

Navy officials say that one of the patrol boats was damaged beyond repair, while the other is set to be repaired. According to the Navy, the six crew members of the two boats were injured but have all been released from the hospital.

A Charleston Fire Department boat that responded to the incident was also damaged after striking a buoy in the harbor. Other boats responding to the first Navy boat aided the firefighters in getting their boat back to the dock.

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