US Navy sailors

Commanding officer of U.S. sailors detained by Iran to be punished

The commanding officer of the two U.S. Navy boats that were captured by Iran in January will face punishment for the incident, according to defense officials.

Lt. David Nartker was the highest ranking of the 10 sailors detained at gunpoint Jan. 12 by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp Navy. Nartker was filmed apologizing for entering Iranian waters in a video broadcast by Iran state television.

The Navy is expected to announce Nartker’s punishment on Thursday, Stars and Stripes reported Wednesday.

Nartker and an unidentified sailor appeared before Rear Adm. Frank Morneau, commander of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, earlier this month to hear the charges against them, according to a defense official. Nartker was told during the hearing, known as Captain’s Mast, that he would face punishment for the incident. All charges against the unidentified sailor were dropped.

Nartker’s reprimand will be the last of nine sailors who faced administrative punishment because of the incident.

A Navy investigation into the Iranian capture declassified in June concluded that the Islamic Republic had violated international law when its military forces detained American personnel at gunpoint just before the Iran nuclear accord was implemented days later.

While officials said it was “reasonable” for Iran’s Navy to investigate the presence of the American soldiers and two riverine command boats in their territorial waters, Tehran’s hindrance of the vessels’ transit violated their right to “innocent passage” under international law.

The report also faulted the U.S. sailors for the incident, calling their capture a result of a “poorly led and unprepared unit.”

The commodore and executive officer in charge of the Navy vessels have already been relieved of duty, along with an unnamed officer in charge of the detachment in Kuwait.

By Free Beacon