US Coast Guard Cutter Commanding Officer Relieved Following Fatal Collision
The commanding officer of a U.S. Coast Guard cutter has been relieved of duties following a fatal collision with a fishing vessel in August 2022.
Lt. Cmdr. Benjamin Williamsz, former commanding officer of the USCGC Winslow Griesser (WPC 1116), was relieved of duties due to a loss of confidence in his ability to effectively command the cutter, the U.S. Coast Guard said. Rear Adm. Brendan C. McPherson, commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District, effected the relief on Friday.
Williamsz had been administratively reassigned to shore duty at Coast Guard Sector San Juan immediately following a collision with fishing vessel Desakata while underway off the coast of Dorado, Puerto Rico on August 8, 2022, resulting in the death of one of the Desakata crewmen, injury to the other, and the loss of the fishing vessel. No Coast Guard personnel were injured.
The Coast Guard noted it is aiding an ongoing investigation led by the National Transportation Safety Board.
Lt. Cmdr. Catherine Gillen is in command of the USCGC Winslow Griesser to maintain operations until a permanent commanding officer is assigned.
Cutter Winslow Griesser is a Sentinel-class fast response cutter (FRC) homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with a crew of 24 personnel. FRCs are the Coast Guard’s newest patrol boats and are used for a variety of missions including search and rescue, drug interdiction, migrant interdiction, fisheries regulations enforcement and homeland security.