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January 12, 2006

USCG icebreaker captain replaced

Rear Adm. Robert Papp, Commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District, has recommended to the Commandant of the Coast Guard that Capt. Donald Triner, commanding officer of the Coast Guard's newest icebreaker, the new Mackinaw, be permanently relieved of command.

Papp temporarily relieved Triner of his command Dec. 15 after the cutter hit a break wall in Grand Haven, Mich.

The Coast Guard took possession of the Mackinaw November 16 in Marinette, Wis. Mackinaw was transiting Lake Michigan on an area familiarization cruise on its way to its homeport in Cheboygan, Mich. when it struck the wall. No personnel were injured but the ship suffered minor damage.

Papp made the decision to recommend permanent relief, citing loss of confidence in Triner's ability to command. He reached this conclusion after reviewing investigations concerning the collision and subsequent reports of inappropriate use of alcohol by Triner and some members of his crew at an event in Cheboygan on Dec.17.

"After reviewing both investigations, I have concluded that Capt. Triner gave insufficient attention to navigation and ship-handling training during the ship's shakedown cruise, thus contributing to the collision in Grand Haven," said Papp. "With respect to the event in Cheboygan, Capt. Triner has exhibited personal behavior and conduct inconsistent with service norms and expectations for the commanding officer of a Coast Guard cutter."

Triner is temporarily assigned to Sector Lake Michigan in Milwaukee. Capt. Michael Hudson is now in command of the cutter, a position he assumed following Triner's temporary reli