Cosco Busan pilot to get trial date

The pilot of the Cosco Busan is set to receive a date April 4 for his trial on federal charges related to the crash of the cargo ship into the Bay Bridge and the resultant oil spill into San Francisco Bay.

Pilot John Cota, meanwhile, has indicated that he thinks the Coast Guard shares responsibility for the spill, which killed and sickened birds and other wildlife in the bay and along the nearby Pacific Ocean coast. His lawyers have said Cota will refuse to testify in a National Transportation Safety Board hearing next week.

The Nov. 7, 2007 spill of 50,000 gallons of bunker fuel into San Francisco Bay killed at least 2,000 birds and sickened an unknown but much larger number of others. While all other similar cargo ships in the bay that day remained at anchor because of heavy fog, the Cosco Busan set sail in spite of low visibility.

Today’s court procedure is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on the 15th floor of the San Francisco Federal Building at 450 Golden Gate Ave., in the court of U.S. Magistrate Joseph Spero.

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