The US Coast Guard has replaced the commanding officer USCGC Winslow Griesser now six months after the cutter was involved in a fatal collision with a small fishing boat off the coast of Puerto Rico.
The Coast Guard announced Friday that Lt. Cmdr. Benjamin Williamsz was relieved of his duties as commander Winslow Griesser (WPC 1116) due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command effectively.
Williamsz was administratively transferred to shore duty in the San Juan Coast Guard Sector immediately after the collision on August 8, 2022.
USCGC Winslow Griesser is a 154-foot Sentinel-class fast deployment cutter based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was on patrol when it collided with a 23-foot commercial fishing vessel named Desakataabout 4 nautical miles north of Dorado, Puerto Rico.
One of two people on board the fishing vessel was killed in the accident.
After the collision, the crew of the Winslow Griesser recovered the two fishermen on board Desakata, identified as Carlos Rosario, who was fatally injured, and his brother, Samuel Rosario Beltrán, who sustained injuries but survived. No Coast Guard personnel were injured in the incident.
The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation into the incident.
Williamsz was succeeded by Rear Admiral Brendan C. McPherson, commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District.
In 2014, the US Coast Guard’s 100-foot cutter Key Largo struck a 42-foot fishing boat while towing lobster traps about 9 miles off the coast of Vieques Island, Puerto Rico. The two people on board saw the cutter coming and jumped overboard to avoid injuries.
An NTSB investigation into the accident found that the deck’s cutter officer suffered from a lack of sleep and recommended that the Coast Guard take action to address the watchman’s fatigue.