Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba CO Relieved of Command After Florida Arrest

Portsmouth, Va. – Vice Adm. D. Brian Peterman, commander of the Coast Guard’s Atlantic Area in Portsmouth, Va., has temporarily relieved the commanding officer of a Boston-based cutter citing a loss in confidence in the officer’s ability to command.

The temporary relief of Cmdr. Michael S. Sabellico from the 270-foot medium endurance cutter Escanaba follows the completion of an investigation into an off-duty incident during a port call in Key West, Fla., last month.

Sabellico was arrested by Key West police at about 1:15 a.m. May 15 on suspicion of simple battery, and released later that day. The cutter, which had previously been on patrol in the Caribbean, was making a final port call before returning to its homeport of Boston.

Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Gale, Escanaba’s executive officer, will serve as the acting commanding officer. Sabellico remains temporarily reassigned to the Coast Guard First District staff in Boston where he was temporarily reassigned following the off-duty incident.

Escanaba returned to its homeport in Boston May 21.

The investigation remains under review.

The Coast Guard cutter Escanaba is a multi-mission platform, used to enforce federal and international fishing regulations in the waters off New England, conducts illegal migration and drug interdiction patrols in the Caribbean, and carries out search and rescue and homeland security missions.

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