WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. Navy captain who was in charge of 10 American sailors briefly held by Iran in January has been relieved of command because of a "loss of confidence in his ability to command," a Navy statement said on Friday.

Ten U.S. sailors, who were aboard two patrol craft, were detained by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Jan. 12 when they inadvertently entered Iranian territorial waters. They were released the next day after being held for about 15 hours.]

Captain Kyle Moses, commander of Task Force 56, was the second person to be publicly reprimanded so far over the incident. In May, Commander Eric Rasch, who was the executive officer of the coastal riverine squadron that included the 10 sailors, was fired.

Vice Admiral Kevin Donegan, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, said he had taken corrective action against Moses several weeks ago.


“However, after thoroughly examining the findings of the final, comprehensive investigation, I determined that this additional action was necessary,” Donegan said in the statement.

Findings of the five-month investigation will be presented by Admiral John Richardson, the chief of U.S. Naval Operations, at a briefing in the Pentagon on June 30 where he will give more details on the incident.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by David Gregorio)

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