USS Decatur with Capt. John "Bob" Bowen inset.  U.S. Decature photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sean Furey.
USS Decatur with Capt. John “Bob” Bowen inset. Decatur photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sean Furey.

The captain of the San Diego-based destroyer Decatur was removed from command in January after lying to San Diego fleet command about his ship’s position, media reports said Sunday.

According to a Navy investigation, Cmdr. John “Bob” Bowen, the Decatur’s commanding officer, ordered his crew on Sept. 13 not to report to fleet command that the guided-missile destroyer had gone dead in the water, said The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The ship had to stop to repair one of its propeller shafts, the U-T said.

To hide the four-hour-long stop from the fleet, the crew reported inaccurate ship positions to make it appear the ship was continuing on its course, the investigation said.

By 2:30 p.m., the ship was underway again and it would keep reporting false coordinates to the Third Fleet until it caught up to where they had told the fleet they were later that evening, the investigation said.

Capt. John “Bob” Bowen has been reassigned to a San Diego role, Navy says. U.S. Navy photo

Bowen reportedly told investigators that as long as the ship didn’t fall more than four hours off schedule, he thought there was no need to notify the fleet, the U-T report said.

After the ship returned to San Diego, Navy officials received an anonymous hotline complaint and launched an investigation in November, the paper said. Bowen was fired as commanding officer in January.

The Navy said in a press release at the time that Bowen was relieved of duty due to a “loss of confidence in his ability to command.”

Cmdr. John Fage, a Navy spokesman, told the newspaper on Friday that the Navy holds its leaders to a high standard.

“Their positions require the utmost in responsibility, reliability and leadership, and the Navy holds them accountable in cases where they fall short of those standards,” Fage said.

Fage told Navy Times that Bowen is being temporarily reassigned “to a command in San Diego.”

A year ago, the Decatur returned to San Diego following a deployment that included rescuing fishermen in waters south of Sri Lanka.

After a fishing vessel suffered a mechanical failure, the Decatur provided food, water and towing assistance to seven fisherman while waiting for Sri Lankan authorities to respond to the mariner’s distress calls.

Days earlier the previous October, the Decatur took evasive action when a Chinese destroyer came within 45 yards.

Decatur also took part in multiple exercises and operations, including conducting maritime security operations.

— City News Service contributed to this report.