Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne Bay to receive new commanding officer

Great Lakes Coast Guard NewsST. IGNACE, Mich. — The Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne Bay is scheduled to hold a change-of-command ceremony at Coast Guard Moorings Saint Ignace, Mich., at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Lt. Thomas Przybyla will relieve Lt. Matthew Walter of the duties and responsibilities of commanding officer under the direction of Rear Adm. Michael Parks, commander of the 9th Coast Guard District and the presiding official.

Przybyla takes command of Biscayne Bay after serving in an assignment at the National Command Center at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Upon relief of command, Walter will be assigned to the Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston Command Center in Houston.

The change-of-command ceremony is a time-honored tradition which formally acknowledges the transfer of responsibility, authority and accountability from one individual to another.

The cutter Biscayne Bay is homeported in the Straits of Mackinac. This strategic location is important due to the vital role the Mackinac Straits play in connecting the Great Lakes. Raw goods vital to the nation’s economy transit through the lakes year-round, but when winter’s fury freezes the water, commerce can come to a screeching halt. For this primary reason, the cutter Biscayne Bay, a 140-foot harbor tug with ice-breaking capabilities, was commissioned and put to work. The Biscayne Bay is one of nine Coast Guard cutters on the Great Lakes. From early December through mid-April every year, Lakers call on the services of the Coast Guard cutters to free them from their beset positions in the ice, break-the-way and prevent ice jams from forming in the critical waterways.

The Coast Guard is a multi-mission, maritime, military service and is part of the Department of Homeland Security. It is unique among federal agencies in that it is at all times an armed service, while also a humanitarian, regulatory, law enforcement, environmental and emergency management agency.

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