The captain of the USS Dubuque has been charged with two counts of violating lawful orders for failing to rescue a boatload of Vietnamese refugees who say they later resorted to cannibalism to survive.

Capt. Alexander G. Balian, 48, flew to San Diego Sunday after being notified of the charges and is scheduled to appear Wednesday at a hearing, Cmdr. David Dillon, a Pacific Fleet spokesman, said Tuesday.Balian has been assigned a Navy lawyer and is currently preparing to appear before Vice Adm. George W. Davis Jr., the commander of all surface ships in the U.S. Pacific Fleet, at a so-called "admiral's mast", the spokesman said.

Dillon said the captain had been charged under procedures within the Uniform Code of Military Justice for "non-judicial punishment," meaning he is not facing a court-martial.