The officer in charge of a U.S. Coast Guard coastal patrol boat based in Jonesport has been relieved of his command pending an investigation, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said Saturday.

Lt. Karen Kutkiewicz said Senior Chief Petty Officer Christopher Bouchard, who had been in charge of the Coast Guard cutter Moray, was reassigned to the field office in Southwest Harbor on Friday following a series of alleged incidents that caused Bouchard’s commanding officers to lose confidence in his ability to lead the 13-member crew or safely navigate the 87-foot Moray.

Rear Adm. Linda Fagan, commander of the First Coast Guard District, and Capt. Brian Gilda, commander of Coast Guard Sector Northern New England, made the decision to relieve Bouchard, a high-ranking noncommissioned officer, of command.

Kutkiewicz said she could not provide details about the alleged incidents until the conclusion of the investigation, which could take up to three months. She did say that they do not involve any alleged accident, injury, sexual misconduct or inappropriate relationship.

Bouchard also is not accused of misusing the cutter or of any financial misconduct, Kutkiewicz said.

In general, she said the investigation pertains to accusations that Bouchard “was not following Coast Guard rules and regulations” while on duty.

A final determination regarding Bouchard’s permanent removal or resumption of command will be made by the commandant of the Coast Guard in Washington, D.C., Kutkiewicz said.

Lt. Nolan Cuevas, commanding officer of Coast Guard cutter Grand Isle, has assumed temporary command of the Moray, she said.

Coastal patrol boats such as the Moray are used for law enforcement and search-and-rescue operations. There are five such boats in the Northeast and 73 in the Coast Guard’s entire fleet. Unlike some cutters, the Moray is not used for ice-breaking operations.

Kutkiewicz said all officers in charge of cutters are held to extremely high standards of conduct.

“We don’t take these positions lightly,” she said.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: jcraiganderson

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