The California Board of Pilot Commissioners voted unanimously last week to revoke the license of Overseas Reymar pilot Guy Kleess who was navigating the oil tanker when she allided with the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge early this year.
The pilot commissioners stated that Kleess failed to communicate effectively with the crew, lost situational awareness, was “complacent,” and didn’t use all the resources at his disposal during the incident.
The board also filed formal accusations against Kleess and recommended disciplinary action against him.
The case now will be sent to an administrative law judge who will hold a trial to determine the fate of Kleess’ license. The board will then be required to reconvene within 40 days to vote on the judge’s ruling. Until then, Kleess’ license is suspended ‘to protect the public interest’.
A response from Kleess’ legal representation stated that the pilot met the standards of his profession in difficult circumstances, but did not directly dispute the board’s accusations.
The board’s report also found that Kleess changed course shortly before the allision due to reduced visibility and the failure of a navigational radar beacon on the bridge which should have warned him of the approaching danger. The report also found that Kleess was well rested during that voyage and had been off-duty for 39 hours. Kleess and the crew tested negative for alcohol and drug use.
The 752-foot Overseas Reymar oil tanker hit a span-tower of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in January, resulting in extensive damage to the ship and to the bridge. No one was injured and no fuel was spilled during the incident.