Ex Cosco Busan Ship Pilot Wants Mariner's License Back
The cargo ship pilot ultimately responsible for the Cosco Busan oil spill is requesting to quietly regain his mariner’s license and get back out on the water.
After piloting a vessel that collided with the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and causing a massive spill, a legal representative for the now 64-year-old John Cota claims that his client wants to operate as a tugboat captain. Apparently, however, the Coast Guard has denied a previous appeal for Cota’s license reinstatement back in February. Cota and his attorneys are now working through other options, including a lawsuit, to regain his license to sail commercially in the bay.
Cota was piloting the Cosco Busan ship in heavy fog on Nov. 7, 2007 when it sideswiped a bridge tower. More than 50,000 gallons of oil leaked into the San Francisco Bay, contaminating 26 miles of shoreline, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. He plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges of illegally discharging oil in the bay and killing thousands of birds. He was sentenced to 10 months in prison in July 2009.
Shipping industry officials and environmentalists have openly agreed with the Coast Guard decision to deny renewal of Cota's license, which expired in 2010 after the Coast Guard put it under a form of suspension.