Report: San Diego sailors derelict in duty in Iran incident

WASHINGTON D.C. (KUSI) — Scathing criticism has arisen of the actions of ten San Diego-based sailors who were captured by Iranian Military forces in an incident that proved to be a huge embarrassment for the Obama Administration.

The incident happened in early January after U.S. lost contact with the two crafts while they were en route from Kuwait to Bahrain.

Related Link: Detained American sailors return safely to San Diego

It is unclear if the ships entered Iranian territory intentionally, but no distress call was made during the incident.

The official added that it is possible that one of the boats lost propulsion and drifted into Iranian waters.

 "The evidence suggests that they unintentionally entered the Iranian waters because of the failure of their navigational system," IRGC spokesman Ramazan Sharif said.

Related Link: Navy fires commander in charge of sailors detained in Iran

A senior administration official said at the time of the incident that there was no hostility from Iran towards the sailors or the United States and the White House received assurances the sailors will be released shortly.

The next morning, the sailors were released and returned to the U.S. a few days later.

"The sailors are in good health and we have determined they can return to duty,” Rear Adm. Frank Morneau, commander, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command. The briefly detained sailors began a reintegration program immediately after they were released Jan. 13, according to the Navy.

Several months later, the second-in-command of a San Diego-based coastal patrol boat squadron was relieved of his job.

Cmdr. Eric Rasch was executive officer of Coastal Riverine Squadron 3 when the 10 sailors were captured and detained for about 16 hours. 

The incident was a major embarrassment to the Navy, particularly since the sailors were videotaped and used for propaganda purposes in Iran.

A Navy statement said Rasch was relieved due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command. He was temporarily reassigned to Coastal Riverine Group 1.

Categories: Local San Diego News