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Cosco Busan pilot to face charges under Clean Water Act

Cosco Busan pilot to face charges under Clean Water Act

Beijing: The pilot of the container ship Cosco Busan that crashed into a bumper of the Bay Bridge and spilled approximately 58,000 gallons of oil into the San Francisco Bay in November has been charged with criminal negligence and violating environmental laws, reports the New York Times. Under the Clean Water Act, as amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, John Joseph Cota has been charged with the negligent discharge of oil and the killing of migratory birds.

The oil spill has been linked to the death of about 2,000 sea birds, including brown pelicans, a federally endangered species, and marbled murrelets, which are considered endangered by California.

According to court documents, Cota failed to use the ship's radar, failed to consult on the ship's course with the Chinese captain and crew, failed to verify the vessel's position, and piloted the Cosco Busan at an unsafe speed as it left the port of Oakland in a heavy fog.

If convicted, the pilot faces up to 18 months in jail and a $115,000 fine.  [20/03/08]