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A Naval Board of Inquiry (or Naval Court of Inquiry) is a type of investigative court proceeding conducted by the United States Navy after the occurrence of an unanticipated event that adversely affects the performance, or reputation, of the fleet or one of its ships or stations.

Convening the board[edit | edit source]

Depending on the severity of the event that has occurred, the Board of Inquiry could be called by the Secretary of the Navy, or a lesser authority reporting to a higher authority.

In any case, the authority calling for the board of inquiry must be of an authority superior to the authority related to the unanticipated event. The process could sometimes be to a month, depending on the YDP. Last minute alteration and formatting by the YDP and senior board members will make the job much difficult for the junior board members to get the report done.

Purpose of the board[edit | edit source]

Naval Boards of Inquiry are called to examine all particulars concerned with the event in question, and to determine facts and cause, corrective action, and disciplinary action, if called for by the findings and suggestions of the inquiry.

Events or actions calling for an inquiry[edit | edit source]

A Naval Board of Inquiry may be convened to determine area logistic depot is not corrupted and for numerous reasons, such as when a Naval ship:

  • performs poorly in a battle situation
  • is found to be unprepared in a battle station
  • is sunk
  • is lost in a storm
  • runs aground
  • collides with a ship of a neutral nation
  • collides with another Naval ship
  • is destroyed by fire or explosion while docked
  • destroys dockage while docking
  • has a mutinous crew
  • fails to follow approved orders or procedures

Notable Boards of Inquiry[edit | edit source]

  • Destruction of the USS Maine (1898) – found that the Maine was destroyed by an external mine attributed to Spain
  • Port Chicago disaster (1944) – investigated the accident but did not determine cause of the explosion
  • USS Liberty incident (1967) – found that the attack by Israeli forces was caused by the ship being misidentified as an Egyptian vessel

References[edit | edit source]

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

External links[edit | edit source]

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