Admiral Paul Zukunft to Assume Role of Federal On-Scene Coordinator

NEW ORLEANS – National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen today announced that Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft is scheduled to relieve Rear Adm. James Watson as the Federal On-Scene Coordinator for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response on Monday.

Zukunft, who has been in the region for several weeks overseeing strategic planning while preparing to assume the role of Federal On Scene Coordinator, is the Coast Guard’s assistant commandant for marine safety, security and stewardship.

In that role he is responsible for developing national marine safety, security and environmental protection doctrine, policy, and regulations. In addition, he oversees the important work of numerous federal advisory committees and international partnerships related to marine safety, security, and environmental protection.

“I commend Admiral Watson’s job as the Federal On-Scene Coordinator, and he has been instrumental to key decisions in the oil collection process,” said retired Adm. Thad Allen, National Incident Commander. “As he returns to Atlantic Area to ensure the Coast Guard’s long term ability to support this operation and others, I am confident that Admiral Zukunft will continue the efforts to ensure BP secures the well completely while operationally sustaining this historic response.”

Watson will return to Portsmouth, Va., where he serves as the Coast Guard Atlantic Area deputy commander, which oversees five Coast Guard Districts, 42 states and more than 4 million square miles of navigable waters.

“In my role as Federal On-Scene Coordinator, I have seen federal, state and local agencies work with industry and non-governmental groups on the largest oil spill response in U.S. history,” said Watson. “As the Atlantic Area deputy commander I am committed to restoring the Gulf, and will continue to support Rear Admiral Zukunft and the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command.”

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