Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Morgan City holds change of command ceremony

Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Morgan City held a change of command ceremony June 26, 2020. During the ceremony, Cmdr. Ben P. Russell assumed the responsibilities of commanding officer of Marine Safety Unit Morgan City from Cmdr. Heather Mattern. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo/released)

Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Morgan City held a change of command ceremony June 26, 2020. During the ceremony, Cmdr. Ben P. Russell assumed the responsibilities of commanding officer of Marine Safety Unit Morgan City from Cmdr. Heather Mattern. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo/released)

NEW ORLEANS — Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Morgan City held a change of command ceremony Friday.

During the ceremony, Cmdr. Ben P. Russell assumed the responsibilities of commanding officer of Marine Safety Unit Morgan City from Cmdr. Heather Mattern.

Russell is reporting to Marine Safety Unit Morgan City after serving four years on the Coast Guard Eighth District staff where he served as the Chief of Inspections and Investigations responsible for mission support of 13 Captain of the Port zones and over 40% of the Coast Guard’s marine safety workload.

Mattern will transfer to Sector Charleston and will serve as the deputy commander.

Mattern assumed the duties of commanding officer of Marine Safety Unit Morgan City, including Vessel Traffic Service Berwick Bay and Marine Safety Detachment Lafayette on June 15, 2017. She was responsible for prevention, safety and security, response, and safe navigation within coastal Louisiana. She oversaw over 550 vessel inspections annually, the law enforcement and pollution response for 75,000 square mile area of responsibility, and the safe transit of mariners that transport over $125 billion in cargo and conduct 65,000 transits annually through the nation’s third busiest VTS.

The change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition and deeply rooted in Coast Guard and Naval history. The event signifies a total transfer of responsibility, authority and accountability for the command. Members of the unit attended the ceremony virtually to witness the transfer of leadership.

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