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Press Release | Feb. 17, 2023

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser's commanding officer relieved

Seventh Coast Guard District

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Lt. Cmdr. Benjamin Williamsz was relieved of duties as the commanding officer of USCGC Winslow Griesser (WPC 1116), Friday.

Rear Adm. Brendan C. McPherson, commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District, effected the relief due to a loss of confidence in Williamsz’s ability to effectively command the cutter.

Williamsz was administratively reassigned to shore duty at Coast Guard Sector San Juan immediately following a collision at sea on Aug. 8, 2022. Lt. Cmdr. Catherine Gillen is in command of the cutter to maintain operations until a permanent commanding officer is assigned.

Cutter Winslow Griesser and the fishing vessel Desakata collided while underway off the coast of Dorado, Puerto Rico, 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 in the collision.

The Coast Guard continues to cooperate with an ongoing investigation led by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Media inquiries about the NTSB investigation should contact their public affairs office at (202) 314-6100 or

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.