Policy: Environment & Energy

Oil tanker pilot who struck Bay Bridge won't get license back

Associated Press,Energy and Environment

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge has refused to reinstate the license of the pilot of the oil tanker that sideswiped the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge six years ago, causing a 50,000-gallon oil spill.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports the pilot, John Cota of Petaluma, sued after the Coast Guard refused in 2010 to restore the federal merchant marine license he had held for 27 years.

On Monday U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White upheld the Coast Guard decision.

Cota, now 66, was piloting the Cosco Busan ship in heavy fog on Nov. 7, 2007 when it struck the bridge.

He pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of illegally discharging oil in the bay after the Coast Guard concluded he was impaired by prescription drugs and failed to follow safety precautions before the crash.

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