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Seeking millions, San Francisco takes Cosco Busan incident to court

Seeking millions, San Francisco takes Cosco Busan incident to court

Seoul: San Francisco city this week started the suing process of the owner, captain and operator of the Cosco Busan container ship that spilled 58,000 gallons of fuel oil into the city's bay, seeking millions in compensation for cleanup and civil penalties. Hanjin Shipping, Korea's largest shipping line, chartered the ship. The negligence lawsuit was filed yesterday in San Francisco Superior Court against Hong Kong-based Regal Stone, the ship's owner; John Cota, the ship's captain and Hanjin, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in an e-mailed statement. The parties neglected to follow procedures to prevent the spill by sailing too fast in fog without a tugboat and with insufficient information about visibility, the city claims in its complaint, which seeks to recoup cleanup costs.
The suit also seeks fines of $25,000 to $500,000 a day for violations of oil-spill prevention laws.
'This was a wholly avoidable incident that has caused more injury to the San Francisco Bay area than we can yet begin to fathom,' Herrera said in the statement.
'We are aware of the news. However, we have not been served with any writs and thus cannot make comments at present,' Seoul-based Hanjin Shipping said in an e-mailed response to questions.
The 900-foot Cosco Busan struck the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on Nov. 7, ripping a hole in the ship's side and leaking 58,000 gallons of oil. More than two dozen beaches were closed and fishing for human consumption was suspended.The spill killed or injured more than 2,200 birds, as well as fish and marine mammals.
Meanwhile, the Cosco Busan incident has featured in Fortune magazine's 101 dumbest moments in business this year. In at no. 11 the American magazine commented: 'A touch of under-statement "I touched the delta tower."--Captain John J. Cota, the pilot of the container ship Cosco Busan, after the vessel strikes the San Francisco--Oakland Bay Bridge and spills 58,000 gallons of diesel fuel from a 160-foot gash in its hull.'  [13/12/07]

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