Nation’s 11th busiest port receives new Coast Guard commander

LAKE CHARLES, La. — The eleventh busiest port by tonnage received a new commanding officer Thursday at the Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit in Lake Charles, La.

Cmdr. Will E. Watson, previously the executive officer of MSU Texas City, Texas, relieved Lt. Cmdr. Robert C. Compher during a change-of-command ceremony at the Lake Charles Civic Center.

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

“With approximately 1,000 vessel arrivals a year, MSU Lake Charles conducts more than 300 vessel inspections and examinations annually, along with about 150 marine casualty investigations, while dealing with some of the most complex vessel designs and dangerous cargoes you can find on the water,” said Capt. George “Joe” Paitl, commanding officer of MSU Port Arthur. “Given the volume and scope of work alone, these accomplishments are impressive, but considering that this work was oftentimes carried out in extreme heat and humidity makes this work even more impressive.”

With a current staffing of 62 active and six reserve members, the MSU provides inspection & investigation, pollution response and waterways management services to a diverse group of southwest Louisiana waterway users.

Compher will transfer to the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., to attend a one year program in national security and policy.

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