The commander of the USS San Francisco, which ran into an undersea mountain last month, is being admonished by the US Navy. Commander Kevin Mooney faced an admiral’s mast in Japan today, on charges that he endangered his ship and the lives of his crew.
The Navy’s highest form of nonjudicial punishment, admiral’s mast falls short of the criminal proceedings of a court martial, but can result in anything from full exoneration to fines, reprimands, and loss of qualifications.
At the heart of the issue is whether Cmdr. Mooney disregarded warning signs of an uncharted mountain before the grounding. Charts onboard the submarine did not indicate a mountain, but additional charts available to the skipper mention a discoloration in the water, a likely indicator of a submarine seamount reaching to near the surface. In addition, CBS News reported that before the high speed submerged run began, depth soundings taken by the crew of the submarine showed the water was shallower than indicated on the charts, another warning sign that was disregarded.
CNN is reporting that Cmdr. Mooney was relieved of command today, a formally reprimanded by the Navy, an action that has likely ended his career.