Posts Tagged ‘bar pilots’

Remembering the Cosco Busan Oil Spill Three Years Later – Turns Out That Everybody was to Blame

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Has it been only three years since the Cosco Busan, the leakiest 2001 Hyundai ever, spilled 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel* into the bay? Seems longer.

Anyway, turns out that a dude who supposed to be up front looking out for stuff in the pea soup fog was downstairs in the galley eating breakfast. I did not know that, no sir. Of course, the idea to depart on sked despite the fog came from the bar pilot, so that’s the person who’s primarily responsible. But there still plenty of blame to go around. Deets below.

Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech!

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All right, it’s Blame Time:

The National Transportation Safety Board determined the following probable causes of the accident:

- the pilot’s degraded cognitive performance from his use of prescription medications, despite his completely clean post accident drug test,
- the absence of a comprehensive pre-departure master/pilot exchange and a lack of effective communication between Pilot John Cota and Master Mao Cai Sun during the accident voyage, and
- (COSCO Busan Master) Sun’s ineffective oversight of Cota’s piloting performance and the vessel’s progress.

Other contributing factors included:

- the failure of Fleet Management Ltd. to train the COSCO Busan crewmembers (which led to such acts of gross negligence as the bow lookout eating breakfast in the galley instead of being on watch) and Fleet Management’s failure to ensure that the crew understood and complied with the company’s safety management system;
- the failure of Caltrans to maintain foghorns on the bridge which were silent despite the heavy fog;
- the failure of Vessel Traffic Safety (VTS) to alert Cota and Sun that they were headed for the tower. VTS is legally required to alert a vessel if an accident appears imminent, yet they remained silent;
- the malfunctioning radar on the COSCO Busan, which led Captains Cota and Sun to use an electronic chart for the rest of the voyage. Although Coast Guard investigators found the radar to be in working order, they did not examine it until days after the accident (allowing time for faulty equipment to be fixed, which is not uncommon after a marine accident)
- Captain Sun’s incorrect identification of symbols on the electronic chart;
- the U.S. Coast Guard’s failure to provide adequate medical oversight of Cota, in view of the medical and medication information he had reported to the Coast Guard

Happy Anniversary, Cosco Busan, or should I say MSC Venezia? Don’t ever come back.

The patched-up ship finally hits the road, back in aught-seven – this was the last time we’ll ever see the Cosco Busan in the Bay Area, most likely:

*Yeah, Wiki is still wrong on that gallonage figure, partly due to the U.S. Coast Guard sitting on information for months and months ’cause they didn’t want to earn themselves any more bad press.

Cosco Busan Oil Spill Endgame: Chinese-Based Fleet Management Ltd. to pay $10 Mil.

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Here’s the news from the boys and girls at Justice, below.

Patched up and riding high – the last time we saw the Cosco Busan back in 2007. Will it ever come back? She’s called the MSC Venezia these days, currently working in the Canaries.

Oh well, she’s not the first Hyundai to leak oil into San Francsico Bay, and she won’t be the last.

The full release, after the jump

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The Waters Beneath the Golden Gate Bridge Can Get a Little Busy Sometimes

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Thusly. Click to expand:

Empty tanker Polar Alaska heads out back up to I’ll-give-you-just-one-guess as full container ships arrive from East Asia.

Just another day in the busy 415.

Cunard’s Massive Queen Victoria Cruise Ship Makes Her Maiden Call on San Francisco

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Photographer Eric Risberg must have still had the sleepers in his eyes this AM when he captured the new Cunard cruise ship Queen Victoria making her debut in San Francisco. Here’s how she looked going under the Golden Gate Bridge and past Alcatraz.

Look for her at the Pier 35 Cruise Ship Terminal (you know, the one that’s the most expensive to operate on the entire west coast, and that includes Canada, eh?)

How would you like to kill 107 days traveling the world? It would only cost $25k (and up): 

Another dreary morn in San Francisco, via stevenseaweed

But here’s how she’ll look in sunny Lahaina, Maui:

And then, after Hawaii, she’ll be off to Cindy, Australia.

Bon Voyage, MSQV!

[UPDATE: And San Francisco’s Mayor was there – read what he had to say about Pier 27 after the jump.

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Brace Yourselves: Cunard’s MS Queen Victoria is Coming to San Francisco on January 27th

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Here we go, straight out of the shipyards of Trieste, Italy, it’s Cunard’s Motor Ship Queen Victoria! Well, guess what – she’s coming to San Francisco on Wednesday, January 27th, 2010, so plan accordingly.

This is going to be the biggest thing to hit town since the Queen Mary 2 back in ought-seven.

But don’t call the QV an ocean liner, oh no, she’s just a cruise ship owing to her lack of freeboard, among other things. Oh well.  

See?

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Check it:

Queen Victoria Makes Her U.S. Maiden Call to Port of San Francisco Jan. 27, 2010

Cunard Line’s youngest ship, Queen Victoria, will make her maiden call to San Francisco on Jan. 27, 2010, marking her only U.S. inaugural call in the next year.

Queen Victoria will stop in San Francisco as part of the first segment of her third world voyage. Expected to pass under the Golden Gate Bridge at approximately 6 a.m., she will dock at Pier 35 at 6:30 a.m. before departing at 6 p.m. for Hawaii. Designed in the grand Cunard tradition, the 2,000-passenger Queen Victoriais the second largest Cunarder ever built, weighing in at 90,000 gross tons and measuring 964.5 feet from stem to stern – more than 110 feet longer than San Francisco’s tallest building, the Transamerica Pyramid.

Thousands of spectators lined the shores of San Francisco Bay in 2007 when Cunard’s flagship, Queen Mary 2, made her first call in San Francisco. Best viewing locations include the Golden Gate Bridge – vista points on both north and south sides of the span; Fort Mason; Crissy Field and the Fisherman’s Wharf area. For information visit www.cunard.com.

San Francisco’s Rocket Boat Approaches, But Doesn’t Hit, the Bay Bridge Delta Tower

Monday, August 17th, 2009

OMG! It’s the San Francisco Rocket Boat! Does it really go over 40 MPH on San Francisco Bay? Yes it does.

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Oh noes! Now it’s heading right towards the Delta Tower of the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge!

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But, good thing there’s a bar pilot on board. What’s that? There’s not?

On second thought, maybe it’s a Good Thing there’s no half-million dollar a year pilot on board. Rocket Boat managed to clear the tower and proceed back to Fisherman’s Wharf.

Hurray!

Cosco Busan Update: The NTSB Spanks the U.S. Coast Guard Hard

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

The United States Coast Guard has a bit of work to do per the National Transportation Safety Board‘s news release today regarding the Cosco Busan oil spill of 2007. Sure, the pilot and the shipping firm get blamed, but the USCG takes a few under the waterline as well.

Read on below. Note that they don’t call the Delta Tower of the Bay Bridge the “Delta Span” as many, many people have (including Captain Cota on the day in question). Also note the figure of 53,000 gallons mentioned by the NTSB. It’s not clear whether this is the latest estimate of the size of the spill or if it’s the same exact figure leadership elements of the USCG falsely quoted to the press for months for some idiotic reason having to do with not wanting to be criticised for changing their minds or something. Bad form, Coast Guard. Wiki still says 58,000 gallons or so, so that’s good enough for me.   

The USCG buzzing about on a happier day: 

Washington, DC – The National Transportation Safety Board determined today that a medically unfit pilot, an ineffective master, and poor communications between the two were the cause of an accident in which the Cosco Busan container ship spilled thousands of gallons of fuel oil into the San Francisco Bay after striking a bridge support tower.

On November 7, 2007, at about 8:00 a.m. PST, in heavy fog with visibility of less than a quarter mile, the Hong Kong- registered, 901-foot-long container ship M/V Cosco Busan left its berth in the Port of Oakland destined for South Korea. The San Francisco Bay pilot, who was attempting to navigate the ship between the Delta and Echo support towers of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, issued directions that resulted in the ship heading directly toward the Delta support tower. While avoiding a direct hit, the side of the ship struck the fendering system at the base of the Delta tower, which created a 212-foot-long gash in the ship’s forward port side and breached two fuel tanks and a ballast tank.

More deets after the jump.

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U.S. Coast Guard Recovers Huge Buoy Off of San Francisco

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

What were you doing new year’s eve? Well, that was probably more fun than what the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Aspen did, which was fix our buoy problem.

The San Francisco Approach Lighted Whistle Buoy SF, commonly known as the “Sea Buoy” was recovered by the Coast Guard Cutter ASPEN. The buoy was found on the sea floor in its assigned position, still attached to its mooring. The buoy was lifted onto the deck of the ASPEN, and will be brought back to San Francisco for repairs

They’re looking into why it sank – it might have been hit by an outbound vessel. Click to expand:  

Doesn’t look like too much fun.  

Let’s be careful out there.

On a Clear Day, You Can See the Farallon Islands From San Francisco

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

Not to be confused with the Disneyesque Farallon Restaurant on Post Street, the Farallones can only be seen from San Francisco on the clearest of days.

Atop Southeast Farallon Island is the Farallon Island Light, barely visible even in this magnified photo.

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There’s a feeling I get
When I look to the west,
And my spirit is crying for leaving.