Oakland to join San Francisco in Cosco Busan
By Ari Barak
February 7, 2008
The Oakland City Council Tuesday agreed to join a lawsuit filed
by the city of San Francisco against the owners and operators
of the Cosco Busan container ship that spilled more than 50,000
gallons of oil into San Francisco Bay on Nov. 7, according to
Oakland city spokeswoman Karen Boyd.
San Francisco's lawsuit, filed in that city's superior court,
seeks potentially millions of dollars in damages due to the leak
of heavy bunker fuel into San Francisco Bay. Oakland is only requesting
$26,000 in damages for that city's part in responding to and investigating
the incident, according to a report from City Attorney John Russo
to the City Council.
The spill occurred when the 65,131-ton, 900-foot-long container
ship hit a protective fender of a tower of the Bay Bridge as it
sailed out of the Port of Oakland, bound for South Korea.
San Francisco's suit names as defendants the ship's owner, Regal
Stone Ltd. of Hong Kong, the company that leased it, Hanjin Shipping
Co. Ltd. of South Korea, and ship operators Fleet Management Ltd.
and Synergy Maritime Ltd.
Also named in the suit was pilot John Cota, 59, of Petaluma,
who was piloting the ship when it hit the bridge fender.
In related litigation, fishermen and fishing boat owners have
filed suits in San Francisco Superior Court and federal court
for damage to their livelihood and the U.S. government has filed
suit in federal court over harm to navigable waters and federal
beaches and marine sanctuaries.
Russo's report says San Francisco has asked other Bay Area jurisdictions
who suffered damage from the spill to join its lawsuit.
Russo said the San Francisco City Attorney's Office will handle
settlement negotiations and litigation tasks necessary for recovering
monetary claims for other jurisdictions that join its suit, so
he doesn't anticipate Oakland to incur any significant legal costs.