The U.S. Coast Guard has relieved the commanding officer of the 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 duties as the commanding officer of Winslow Griesser (WPC 1116) due to a loss of confidence in his ability to effectively command.
Williamsz was administratively reassigned to shore duty at Coast Guard Sector San Juan immediately following the August 8, 2022 collision.
USCGC Winslow Griesser is a 154-foot Sentinel Class fast response cutter homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was on patrol when it collided with a 23-foot commercial fishing vessel, named Desakata, approximately 4 nautical miles north of Dorado, Puerto Rico.
One of two people on board the fishing vessel was killed in the accident.
Following the collision, the crew of the Winslow Griesser recovered the two fishermen aboard 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 relieved by Rear Adm. Brendan C. McPherson, commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District.
In 2014, the 100-foot U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo struck a 42-foot fishing vessel as it was hauling lobster traps about 9 miles off the coast of Vieques Island in Puerto Rico. The two people on board saw the cutter coming and jumped overboard, avoiding injury.
An NTSB investigation into the accident found the cutter’s officer of the deck suffered from a lack of sleep and recommended that the Coast Guard take steps to address watchstander fatigue.
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