The captain of Seattle-based Coast Guard cutter Mellon, a vessel that aided the seizure of at least 2,400 pounds of cocaine this year, has been permanently relieved from that duty.
The Coast Guard said Capt. Daniel McLaughlin was permanently relieved of duty on Dec. 21 “due to loss of confidence in his ability to command,” and has been reassigned to the Coast Guard’s 13th District headquarters in Seattle. His discharge from the position he took in July 2011 was not the result of any specific incident, according to Chief Warrant Officer Allyson Conroy.
The Coast Guard’s 11th District in Alameda, Calif., which conducts tactical control of the Coast Guard’s drug patrol missions for the Pacific Ocean, sent out the release about McLaughlin’s relief of duty. Capt. Matthew Bliven will command the vessel until a permanent replacement is named, according to the release.
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The Mellon, a 378-foot Hamilton-class vessel, patrols waters between the Bering Sea and South America for rescue, defense operations, law enforcement and environmental protection, according to the Coast Guard’s website.
In August, its crew seized about 2,400 pounds of cocaine and detained five suspected smugglers about 187 miles south of Panama. They also seized 700 pounds of cocaine and detained three drug smugglers in Dec. 2011 after an 84-day drug patrol in the same area. Seattle-based Coast Guard cutter Midgett also has a record of drug-busting in the Pacific Ocean.