Tuesday, May 22, 2012
SF Bar Pilot from COSCO Busan spill trying to regain license
The San Francisco Bar Pilot who pled guilty to crashing the COSCO Busan containership into the Bay Bridge in 2007 causing a 53,000-gallon bunker fuel spill, serving 10 months in prison as a result is reportedly trying to get his mariner's license back.
Through a Freedom of Information Act request by the San Jose Mercury News, the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed to the newspaper that Captain John Cota's license application appeal was denied on February 13, however the former pilot's attorney said: "He has full intentions of going back to work, either as a tugboat captain or something else."
The final conclusion of the COSCO Busan incident was that Cota was going to fast in heavy fog while under the influence of prescription drugs.
In its official denial of the reinstatement of the expired license, the Coast Guard said Cota's criminal conviction and involvement in the grounding of another ship in 2006 were contributing factors.
[Cota] "does not have the judgment, general knowledge, skill, and proficiency necessary to hold a merchant mariner credential," Capt. Brian McTague, chief of the Coast Guard's Office of General Law in Washington, D.C. in a summary.
Cota's bar pilot career in San Francisco began in 1981. Bar pilot salaries in the Bay are funded through shipping industry user fees and they each currently earn $451,000 per year. Cota voluntarily retired in 2008, and is paid a yearly pension of $228,864, according to the Mercury News report.
For the full San Jose Mercury News story: www.mercurynews.com
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