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Sunday, June 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

CA Sues to Recover Cosco Busan Oil Spill Costs

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - California sued Tuesday to recover the costs of responding to the 2007 Cosco Busan oil spill in San Francisco Bay. In the massive spill, more than 53,000 gallons of oil leaked from the crashed South Korean ship to pollute over 100 miles of coastline.

"Oil spills of this magnitude are very rare" said Deputy Attorney General Kevin Lesh.

The ship had crashed into the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Oil from the resulting breech in the ship's hull flowed onto 56 miles of rocky coastline, 52 miles of sandy beach and 10 miles of saltmarsh.

Clean-up fees were initially paid from the Oil Spill Response Trust Fund. Now, California Attorney General Edmund Brown Jr. has filed suit against the owners, operators, and pilot of the ship to recover these funds.

In addition to the clean-up, the defendants are being held responsible for all associated costs, including the cost of treating affected animals, damage assessment, penalties, and California's legal fees. Lesh could not divulge the total value of money they are seeking.

Apart from the monetary cost, the spill killed over 1800 birds and polluted hundreds of acres of eelgrass beds which serve as important nursery grounds and habitat for marine animals.

Of more than 1000 live birds collected, only about 400 were released after rescue.

Lesh is representing California against pilot John J. Cota, Synergy Marine, Synergy Management Services, Regal Stone, Fleet Management, and South Korea's Hanjin Shipping Company.

"Today's lawsuit aims to recover damages to restore natural resources injured by the spill and the costs of response, containment and clean-up," said the Attorney General's office in a prepared statement. "The lawsuit also seeks to recover the costs of removal and treatment of wildlife affected by the spill, as well as the cost of assessing natural resource damages, legal costs and civil penalties."

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