Former Cosco Busan Pilot, John Cota, Wants His License Back [REPORT]

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May 22, 2012

John Cota, the former San Francisco ship pilot who shot to notoriety after crashing the M/V Cosco Busan into the Bay Bridge on a typical foggy morning in November 2007, would like his license back.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, Cota and his team of lawyers are working through the Coast Guard appeals process to try to renew his mariner’s license, in hopes of once again sailing commercially.

The Coast Guard, however, thinks differently.

After obtaining information through a FOIA request, the California newspaper reports the Coast Guard denied his appeal in February citing that Cota “did not meet the medical standards and the professional qualifications requirements for renewal” and another kernel of information; his criminal record from his conviction in the Cosco Busan spill.

The NTSB final report on the 2007 allision found that John Cota had “degraded cognitive performance from his use of impairing prescription medications”, among other contributing causes, but also mentioned a the U.S. Coast Guard’s failure to “provide adequate medical oversight of the pilot in view of the medical and medication information that the pilot had reported to the Coast Guard” as a contributing factor.

In July 2009, Cota was sentenced to 10 months in prison after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor charges of illegally discharging oil in the bay and killing thousands of birds.

The newspaper report adds that Cota has been working shoreside for a tug company and hopes to regain his license and work as a tug captain, “or something else.”  Cota and his team are considering all options that will allow him again to sail commercially, including considering a lawsuit.

The newspaper report from the San Jose Mercury News can be found HERE.

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