Archive for Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Cargo ship pilot charged in oil spill

March 18, 2008

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— The pilot of the cargo ship that sideswiped the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in November and spilled 58,000 gallons of fuel oil was charged Monday with criminal negligence and violating two federal environmental laws, authorities said.

Capt. John J. Cota , 60, was charged in federal court in San Francisco with one count each of violating the Clean Water Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, both misdemeanors, federal authorities said.

Cota was at the helm Nov. 7 when the 900-foot Cosco Busan hit the base of a bridge tower in heavy fog, gashing the hull and leaking oil into San Francisco Bay. The spill spread around the bay and into coastal waters beyond the Golden Gate, blackening seabirds, briefly shutting down a fishery and prompting a massive cleanup.

The spill killed 2,000 birds.

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