The littoral combat ship USS Freedom. Image via Wikimedia Commons

The commanding officer of the littoral combat ship USS Freedom has been relieved of his duties in connection with the ship’s breakdown off Southern California in July.

The Navy announced Friday that Cmdr. Michael Wohnhaas was relieved by Vice Adm. Tom Rowden, commander of naval surface forces for the Pacific Fleet, due to loss of confidence in Wohnhaas’ ability to carry out his assigned duties.

The action followed an investigation into a leaking pump seal that resulted in seawater entering the lubrication system of one of the ship’s main diesel engines.

Capt. Matthew McGonigle, deputy commodore of Littoral Combat Ship Squadron One, will assume temporary duties as commanding officer.

The Navy said no final decision has been made on the options for repairs to Freedom because of the July 11 breakdown.

The Freedom is the first of the Navy’s new littoral combat ships, which have been plagued by a series of breakdowns. The problems have prompted the Navy to announce major changes in the program.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.