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Monday, May 20, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Firm to Pay $10M for Role in SF Bay Cosco Busan Oil Spill

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Fleet Management Ltd. was ordered to pay $10 million Friday for its role in causing the 2007 Cosco Busan oil spill in the San Francisco Bay, and for trying to cover it up. The sentence came three years after the ship hit a tower of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and spilled 53,500 gallons of bunker fuel into the bay.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston ordered the Hong Kong-based ship management company to pay $2 million of the assessment for marine environmental projects in the bay.

"Fleet failed to meet its obligation under international law to ensure the crew was adequately trained on navigation procedures and equipment and then tried to cover it up," U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello said.

Fleet admitted last August that after the ship hit the bridge, it concealed ship records and doctored reports to hamper the U.S. Coast Guard's investigation.

The ship hit the Delta tower of the bridge, causing a 150-foot long, 12-foot high gash on the side of the ship and puncturing two of its fuel tanks, spilling 53,500 gallons of thick oil into the bay.

Officials say at least 2,000 migratory birds died, including endangered Brown Pelicans, Marbled Murrelets and Western Grebes.

The ship's pilot, Capt. John Cota, pleaded guilty in March 2009, and was later sentenced to 10 months in prison, one year of supervised release and 200 hours of community service for his role in the crash.

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