"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.