SITKA — The commander of the Coast Guard vessel Maple in southeast Alaska has been temporarily removed from command because of a “lack of confidence,” an agency spokesman said.
Lt. Cmdr. Fred Seaton was removed Oct. 1 after officials received reports of problems on board, KCAW reported Monday. Seaton has served as commander of the Sitka-based cutter since June 2012.
Coast Guard spokesman Kip Wadlow said the agency began an investigation last month following reports of a “poor command climate.” While the investigation continues, preliminary results led the Coast Guard commander for Alaska, Rear Admiral Thomas Ostebo, to temporarily relieve Seaton of his command. Seaton has been reassigned to Air Station Sitka for the duration of the investigation.
Wadlow declined to discuss details of the investigation until it is complete, citing policy, but said Seaton was relieved of command because of a “lack of confidence.”
“It appears that the commanding officer of the Maple was acting in a manner that’s not consistent with the standard of conduct that’s expected of Coast Guard leaders,” Wadlow said. “Coast Guard commanders are placed in a position of high authority, and they are expected to create a positive command climate where people can come to work and they can grow professionally and they have a safe working environment.”
Lt. Raymond Reichl, who served as second in command on the vessel, has taken over as the Maple’s temporary commanding officer.
The 225-foot Maple maintains buoys and other navigational aids between Juneau and Ketchikan. It has a crew of about 50.