updated 10/25/2007 8:29:12 PM ET 2007-10-26T00:29:12

The commanding officer of the nuclear-powered submarine USS Hampton was relieved of his duty Thursday because of a loss of confidence in his leadership, the Navy said Thursday.

Cmdr. Michael B. Portland was relieved after a Navy investigation found the ship failed to do daily safety checks on its nuclear reactor for a month and falsified records to cover up the omission.

“His oversight of the crew’s performance did not identify these issues” without an outside inspection, Navy Lt. Alli Myrick, a public affairs officer, told The Associated Press.

It appears from a preliminary investigation on the Hampton that sailors in Submarine Squadron 11 had skipped the required analysis of the chemical and radiological properties of the submarine’s reactor for more than a month, even though a daily check is required.

The Hampton, a Los Angeles Class submarine assigned to Submarine Squadron 11, is the most advanced nuclear attack submarine in the world, carrying a torpedo, cruise missile and mine-laying arsenal, according to information on the Navy’s Web site. The submarine is docked in San Diego.

Myrick said Portland will be reassigned and the Hampton will not conduct operations until the Navy can confirm the safety standards have been met.

Portland’s removal comes after officials also discovered that logs on the Hampton had been filled out to make it appear the daily checks of the reactor water had actually been done.

Other members of the squadron discovered the lapse during a routine examination required as part of the redundancy built into the system so problems are caught. The examination was done as the submarine was nearing the end of a West Pacific deployment that concluded Sept. 17.

The investigation was first reported in Monday’s edition of the Navy Times newspaper, which quoted an unidentified source as saying that failing to measure and maintain the correct water chemistry in the reactor over the long-term could cause corrosion in the propulsion system.

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