The Naval Chief of Staff (Ajema), Teodoro López Calderón, has removed the commander of the Cazaminas Turia from his post and suspended him from duty.
The Turia, a “Segura” class minehunter, ran aground last month in the waters of La Manga del Mar Menor during the search and recovery mission for the C-101 Air Force plane that crashed, and in which the pilot died.
In a brief statement, the Navy announced that Admiral López Calderón, himself from Cartagena, has removed the Captain of Turia, named as Francisco Javier Miró Bujosa, from his command. He has also been charged with dereliction of duty in that he allowed the ship to approach the beach without assessing all the risks.
The military Justice system provides for up to two years in jail and a dishonourable discharge in such cases.
At first, the Navy blamed the bad weather and sea conditions for the accident to the ship, which at that time was trying to recover an underwater robot that was tracking along the bottom of the sea. The Turia ran aground on a rocky outcrop a few hundred metres from the coast of La Manga.
Engineers from Navantia and from the Navy are still assessing the damage suffered to the fiberglass and polyester hull, as well as to the engines and equipment which were affected by the water. Initially, according to shipyard sources, the repair could be cost prohibitive and everything currently indicates that the ship, with 19 years’ service, will be scrapped and converted into a bank of spare parts for its five sister ships.