WASHINGTON – The Navy has fired the commander and second-in-charge of the littoral combatant Montgomery due to “loss of confidence in their ability to command,” the service said Thursday.

Cmdr. Richard J. Zamberlan, the ship’s captain, and Cmdr. Phillip Lundberg, the ship’s executive officer, were relieved by Capt.Marc Crawford, the commander of Surface Division 11, the Navy said in A declaration.

The Navy did not elaborate on the circumstances of the layoffs, but two Navy officials said the officers’ dismissal resulted from their handling of a sexual harassment investigation. The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity due to the ongoing investigation.

It is unusual for the Navy to relieve the captain of a ship, let alone its two senior officers, for any reason. In April, the Navy deleted Cmdr. Catherine J. Dawley as the skipper of the Hawaii-based guided missile destroyer Hopper for what officials said was poor leadership and poor crew morale.

In the case of the San Diego-based Montgomery, Commanders Zamberlan and Lundberg will be reassigned to office positions at Naval Surface Force Headquarters Pacific Fleet. Cmdr. Dustin Lonero, of the littoral combatant Coronado, has been appointed skipper of the Montgomery until a permanent replacement is appointed.

The Navy has addressed other command issues related to sexual harassment in recent months. In April, the admiral responsible for naval aviation maintenance depots, Rear Admiral Trent DeMoss, was dismissed from his post pending an investigation by the Inspector General of the Navy into the complaints of sexual harassment. This shot was reported earlier by USNI News.

Coastal combatants like the Montgomery are a relatively new class of Navy warships. They have entered the fleet over the past two years to operate in coastal areas or in waters close to shore, where larger vessels may have difficulty maneuvering.

Small and nimble with crews of around 80 sailors, the Independence class coastal warships like the Montgomery have a futuristic all-aluminum trimaran design. The Montgomery has patrolled contested waterways like the South China Sea and the Philippine Sea in recent years, which Navy officials say is a signal to allies and adversaries the United States is determined to protect. free and open international waters.

Coastal combat ships have experienced growing pains, with engine issues and other flaws that Navy officials now say they have addressed.