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Decision to head out in heavy fog caused Cosco Busan collision

Decision to head out in heavy fog caused Cosco Busan collision

San Francisco: The fog was so heavy the morning the Cosco Busan struck the Bay Bridge that at least four other large vessels decided to wait until it cleared, the Coast Guard said at the end of last week.
A preliminary assessment by the Coast Guard of the causes of the crash concludes that the decision of those in charge of the container ship to set sail in dense fog played a key role in the Nov. 7 accident, which spilled 53,000 gallons of fuel oil into the bay, fouling miles of Bay Area and ocean shoreline and killing thousands of birds.
"Pretty clearly, this vessel got under way in fog (when there) was less than a quarter-mile of visibility," Rear Adm. Craig Bone, the service's top commander in California, said at a briefing in Washington.
"There were other deep-draft vessels also scheduled to depart that day where the vessel master, crew and other individuals involved in that decision deemed it prudent to not get under way until visibility improved," Bone said.
To prevent a repeat of the Cosco Busan crash, the Coast Guard has restricted vessels weighing more than 1,600 gross tons - such as tankers, large cargo vessels and cruise ships - from sailing on the bay when visibility is less than half a mile.
The rules will apply to nine areas - including those near the Bay Bridge, the San Mateo Bridge and the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge - where navigation could be particularly dangerous in the fog. [31/03/08]

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