Image: USS Port Royal
Marco Garcia  /  AP
With the port of Honolulu in the foreground, the USS Port Royal sits grounded atop a reef on Friday. It was finally freed on Monday.
updated 2/9/2009 6:19:44 PM ET 2009-02-09T23:19:44

The Navy has relieved of duty the commanding officer of a $1 billion warship that ran aground off Honolulu last week.

The Navy said Monday that Capt. John Carroll was relieved of his duties pending the results of an investigation into the grounding of the USS Port Royal. He had taken command of the guided missile cruiser in October.

The ship's temporary commanding officer will be Capt. John T. Lauer III, who is currently assigned to the staff of Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific.

The Port Royal got stuck on the rock and sand shoal Thursday. The Navy moved equipment off the ship to lighten it over the weekend. Tugboats and a salvage ship pulled it free about 2 a.m. Monday.

No one was injured during the recovery effort, said Rear Adm. Joe Walsh, the U.S. Pacific Fleet deputy commander.

The area was to be examined to determine if the ship leaked any fuel, said Coast Guard Capt. Barry Compagnoni.

The Port Royal was being towed to Naval Station Pearl Harbor for inspection.

Investigation pending
The ship hit bottom while sailors, contractors and shipyard personnel were being unloaded. The 15-year-old Port Royal usually has about 24 officers and 340 enlisted sailors on board.

The Navy has not discussed what might have caused the grounding.

The vessel had just finished its first day of sea trials after wrapping up a four-month routine maintenance stay at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.

The Pearl Harbor-based Port Royal, one of the Navy's most advanced ships, is equipped with Aegis ballistic missile tracking technology.

More on: Pearl Harbor

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