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Cargo ship pilot won't get his license back - Soundings Online

Cargo ship pilot won't get his license back

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Capt. John Cota, who crashed the Cosco Busan cargo ship into the Bay Bridge in 2007, causing the worst oil spill in San Francisco Bay in two decades, lost his battle to restart his sailing career.

U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White last week dismissed Cota's lawsuit against the Coast Guard, rejecting his attempt to force the Coast Guard to give him back a mariner's license so he can sail again.

Cota, 66, of Petaluma, pleaded guilty to water-pollution violations and served 10 months in prison after investigators concluded he was traveling too fast in heavy fog, was impaired by prescription drugs and ignored safety precautions while working as the ship's pilot during the crash, according to a report by the San Jose Mercury News.

The 53,569 gallons of bunker fuel that poured from the hull of the 902-foot container ship oiled 69 miles of shore, closed fisheries and killed more than 6,800 birds.