Liability, awards and settlements
18.3, violation of Clean Water Act
US: the pilot of fully cellular con-tainership COSCO Busan
which collided with the San Francisco Bay Bridge resulting in the discharge of approximately 58,000 gallons of oil, was charged with violations of the Clean Water Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California. The accident caused 2,000 birds to die. These included Brown Pelicans, Marbled Murrelets and Western Grebes. The Brown Pelican is a federally endangered species and the Marbled Murrelet is a federally threatened species and an endangered species under California law. According to the charges, while piloting the vessel from port in heavy fog, the pilot failed to guide a collision free course and failed to adequately review the proposed course with the master and crew on official navigational charts. Further, he failed to use the vessel’s radar as he approached the Bay Bridge, use positional fixes or verify the vessel’s position using official aids to navigation, throughout the voyage. Cota is charged with one count of violating the CWA and one count of violating the MBTA. The maximum penalty for a misdemeanour violation of the CWA is one year in prison and a $100,000 fine, and the maximum penalty for a misdemeanour violation of the MBTA is six months in prison and a $15,000 fine.
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