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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Navy takes action against Port Royal's ex-skipper


Advertiser Staff

The Navy today issued non-judicial punishment to the former commander of the guided missile cruiser that ran aground Feb. 5 off Honolulu airportís reef runway.
The action against Capt. John Carroll, the former commanding officer of the Pearl Harbor-based guided missile cruiser USS Port Royal, was issued at an Admiralís Mast today.

Carroll was awarded non-judicial punishment for dereliction of duty and improper hazarding of a vessel. Carroll earlier was temporarily relieved of his command of the Port Royal and reassigned to the Pacific Fleet staff.
The executive officer, Cmdr. Steve Okun, also went to Admiralís Mast today and was awarded non-judicial punishment for dereliction of duty.
The hearing was conducted by Vice Adm. Samuel J. Locklear, commander of the U.S. Third Fleet in San Diego, Calif.
The 9,600-ton cruiser was stuck aground on the reef for 3 1/2 days before it was freed.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources said the grounding caused ďsubstantialĒ damage to the reef.
State officials have told the Navy they intend to file a full claim against the Navy to cover the cost of mitigating further damage to the reef, the value of the coral reef substrate damaged, attempts to free the Port Royal, and other damage to the reef ecosystem. The state and Navy have since developed a four-phase, multimillion-dollar plan to restore the coral reef.
Two other officers and one enlisted sailor were also awarded non-judicial punishment for dereliction of duty and improper hazarding of a vessel at a separate Admiralís Mast hearing conducted today by Rear Adm. Dixon Smith, who serves as both commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific in Pearl Harbor.
Non-judicial punishment is a form of military discipline authorized by Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice that permits commanders to administratively discipline service members without a court-martial. The receipt of non-judicial punishment does not constitute a criminal conviction, but is placed in the memberís service record.