Saturday, July 18, 2009

MS "COSCO BUSAN" - AN UPDATE

This morning an item crossed my desk about something which is such a rare event I thought it worth writing a Post. NAUTICAL LOG has previously written about the incident which occurred on November 07, 2007. On that foggy morning Mr. John Cota, a San Francisco Compulsory Pilot, was piloting the MS "Cosco Busan" when he slammed it into the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Perhaps you will recall the deplorable subsequent treatment of her Chinese Master, the crew and the disgraceful comment in the NTSB Report of the incident. In March 2009 Mr. Cota did the honourable thing and pleaded guilty. On Friday July 17, 2009 he was sentenced to 10 months in prison. The report NAUTICAL LOG received stated,

"U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston sentenced John Cota to the maximum sentence Friday for two misdemeanor environmental crimes of illegally discharging oil in the bay and killing thousands of birds."

It is interesting that Mr. Cota was punished for an environmental crime and not for his maritime professional incompetence. Rarely, if ever, do Compulsory Pilots receive prison time for these incidents of maritime professional incompetence. Apparently he turned in his maritime professional licences to the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the State of California but received no prison time. Hopefully Mr. Cota will receive treatment while in prison for his apparent prescription drug abuse. Once he has completed his prison term and regained health he may be able to retire comfortably for all the times his piloting was successful. Mr. Cota is no longer allowed to pilot vessels.

Good Watch

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