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Cosco Busan pilot John Cota sues Coast Guard to get license back

OAKLAND — The cargo ship pilot who caused a massive San Francisco Bay oil spill is making another attempt to regain his mariner's license.

The San Jose Mercury News reported Monday (http://bit.ly/YRv2Ir) that 65-year-old John Cota, of Petaluma, has filed a lawsuit alleging that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard violated his civil rights by denying his request to renew his merchant marine license.

Cota was piloting the Cosco Busan ship in heavy fog on Nov. 7, 2007 when it sideswiped the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and spilled more than 50,000 gallons of oil into the bay.

He pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of illegally discharging oil in the bay after the Coast Guard concluded he was impaired by prescription drugs and failed to follow safety precautions before the crash.

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Information from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, http://www.mercurynews.com


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