Pilot of ship that hit Bay Bridge and spilled oil will retire

His career in ruins and facing charges and a state investigation, John Cota, the pilot of the freighter Cosco Busan that struck the Bay Bridge on Nov. 7, will retire rather than try to retain his pilot’s license.

The collision spilled 53,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil and fouled the shoreline around the bay and up and down the coast.

Cota had a 1999 DUI conviction, was taking sleep medication, and misread a nautical chart though he had been a ship pilot for 27 years.

Flickr photo by Anna L. Conti

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