Pilot Commission Finds Cosco Busan Pilot John Cota At Fault

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October 25, 2008

Cosco Busan Pilot John Cota - San Francisco Bay

Carl Nolte of the San Francisco Chronicle writes:

According to a report released Thursday by the state pilot commission…

“There was unequivocally pilot error,” said Gary Gleason, an attorney for the state Board of Pilot Commissioners, which is appointed by the governor to regulate ship pilots in San Francisco, Suisun and San Pablo bays.

John Cota was in control of the 901- foot-long container ship Cosco Busan when it smashed into one of the towers of the Bay Bridge on Nov. 7. The crash caused a 220-foot long gash in the side of the ship and punctured the ship’s fuel tanks. More than 50,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil spilled out, fouling 26 miles of shoreline and killing more than 2,000 birds.

Gleason presented the report to the seven members of the commission and closed with a recording of Cota’s voice, made on the Cosco Busan just after the accident.

“Oh, yeah, it’s so foggy. I shouldn’t have gone,” the pilot said. “I’m not going to do well on this one.” As Cota spoke, the mournful sound of the ship’s fog signal was heard in the background.

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You can find the full pilot commission report HERE.

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