Criminally-Convicted, Impaired-Driving, Oil-Spilling Former Captain Wants His License Back

Posted by on February 13, 2013 in Blog, Ports and Harbors | 0 comments

2007 Cosco Busan Oil Spill -- photo by Wayne Hseih, creative common license via flickrSometimes we’re just amazed.

According to the Mercury News, John Cota, the pilot of the ill-fated cargo ship Cosco Busan — the guy who crashed the ship into the San Francisco Bay Bridge in 2007 causing one of the worst spills in the Bay’s history — wants his Coast Guard license back. Cota has filed a lawsuit in federal court to compel the Coast Guard to renew the license.

The Mercury News reminds us: “Capt. John Cota 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 Nov. 7, 2007, crash.” Last year, the owner and the operator of the Cosco Busan agreed to pay a $44 million civil settlement. Meanwhile, Cota purportedly “retired” from piloting ships when the State of California moved to revoke his pilot’s license in 2008, and he now draws an industry pension of more than $228k.

Deb Self, executive director of San Francisco Baykeeper, said, “He’s shown that he didn’t have the medical fitness or sound judgment to be sailing ships. I don’t think the bay can afford second chances.”

The Mercury News reports that the Coast Guard denied his license renewal by saying that Cota “did not meet the medical standards and the professional qualifications requirements for renewal.” The Coast Guard not only cited his criminal conviction in the Cosco Busan incident, but also his role in grounding another ship in 2006.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *