A Hong Kong-based shipping company has been fined $10 million in the Cosco Busan ship collision of 2007. The company, Fleet Management has also been severely reprimanded for its failure to train its officers in safety and navigation procedures.

When the Cosco Busan struck the San Francisco Bay Bridge Francisco, it proved what maritime lawyers always say – that most maritime accidents are entirely preventable, and that pilot and crew errors are often at the bottom these accidents. On the 7th of November 2007, the vessel struck the Delta Tower of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.   Fortunately, there was no loss of life and no injuries. But the massive oil spill that resulted contaminated the surrounding waters for miles around.

The crab fishing season had to be postponed for a few weeks while clean up operations went on. The accident resulted in a total of 53,500 gallons of oil being spilled into the after. It cost millions of dollars in clean up operations, and accounted for even more losses in other economic damages.

Investigations later revealed that the pilot John Cota has been piloting the vessel under the influence of prescription drugs.  A National Transportation Safety Board probe ultimately blamed the crash on Cota’s impaired driving, and the failure of the master to oversee Cota’s’ performance. Cota later pleaded guilty to 2 misdemeanor charges and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Now, Fleet Management, the company that operated the vessel has been fined $10 million. The judge has also ordered the company to enhance its employee training processes.

The maritime attorneys at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers  represent seamen inured add sea, including tanker crews, freighter crews, roustabouts, deckhands, waiters, entertainers and other cruise ship crews, oil rig workers, and up rig workers, commercial fishing vessel crew and other person who qualify for Jones CTA Seaman status.

For more information, please email us at [email protected].