Posts Tagged ‘federal bureau of investigation’

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.


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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.

Is It Illegal to Burn a Quran in San Francisco? Tenderloin Incident Reported to SFPD, FBI

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

Apparently the legality of burning a Quran is an open question these days.

Read below the details of a recent incident at the Islamic Society of San Francisco (ISSF) in the Tenderloin.

20 Jones Street near Market, just across the way from the Brokedown Palace of McAllister Street:

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All the deets:

CAIR: Burned Quran Found at San Francisco Mosque. Muslim civil rights group urges community members to report suspicious activity

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 18 — The San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SFBA) today reported that a burned copy of the Quran, Islam’s holy text, was found earlier this week at the Islamic Society of San Francisco (ISSF).

CAIR-SFBA is reminding community members to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity in the area of local mosques. 

ISSF officials reported to CAIR-SFBA that they found the burned copy of the Quran in a trash container placed outside for collection. The incident was reported to the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) and to the San Francisco office of the FBI.

“Regrettably, the recent wave of hate incidents targeting American Muslims has made its way to the Bay Area,” said CAIR-SFBA Programs and Outreach Director Zahra Billoo. “It is unfortunate that a minority community is being targeted by hate in this way, and we are appreciative of the support that has been expressed by local elected officials and interfaith leaders.”

She noted that Muslim communities nationwide have been similarly targeted in recent weeks.

Ever more deets, after the jump


Jerry Brown Takes Down: “Operation Knockout” Arrests 94 Norteños and Sureños in Salinas

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

California Attorney General Jerry Brown can’t abide gang wars in Steinbeck Country. So today he’s telling us about the people in his Gang Suppression Enforcement Program, along with a whole bunch of other California and federal peace officers, arresting 94 suspected Montery-area Norteños and Sureños.

And to keep things going, Jerry just announced a local, Salinas-area gang task force.

Anyway, there was a big press conference today – look at who all was there.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, U.S. Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello (Northern District of CA), Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo, Salinas Chief of Police Louis Fetherolf, Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue and a host of others down in Salinas :

Check it:

“Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today discussed “Operation Knockout,” in which agents from Brown’s Gang Suppression Enforcement Program (GSEP) of the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement arrested gang members after an eight-month, wide-ranging investigation and sweep targeting the most powerful gang leaders in the Salinas area.”

via Thomas Hawk

All the deets:

Brown Announces Major Gang Takedown in Salinas

SALINAS – Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced that more than 200 agents from his Gang Suppression Enforcement Program and other law enforcement agencies today arrested 37 members of two vicious gangs responsible for a rampage of violence — including more than three dozen murders and 200 shootings — that terrorized the citizens of Salinas and nearby areas.

Today’s mass arrests culminated an eight-month operation, code-named “Operation Knockout,” aimed at apprehending members of the Norteños and Sureños gangs that turned Salinas into a hub of murder, robbery and drug dealing.

The operation targeted the most dangerous gang leaders in the Salinas area. In addition to the arrests made today, agents seized 40 pounds of cocaine, 14 pounds of marijuana, nine ounces of methamphetamine, $34,000 in cash, and 12 guns. An additional 57 arrests were made before today’s sweep.

“Operation Knockout was designed to restore safety to the streets of Salinas,” said Brown. “Citizens in John Steinbeck’s hometown deserve better than having to endure a violent crime rate that’s three times the national average. We owed it to the people of Salinas to arrest these out-of-control gang members and ensure a heightened sense of personal security throughout the city.”

Ever more deets after the jump


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


A Big Kickoff for Census 2010 Today – Or, How the Feds Lie to Us

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Can you envision the Feds thinking about the best way to get word out about the 2010 Census – can’t you just see them all coming up with the same meme at the same time:

“OMG, OMG, Bus Tour!”*

That was the plan for early this morning, having the Great Census Bus, a prime mover of the Portrait of America Regional Census Road Tour, roll across the Golden Gate Bridge at 4:00AM and then meander to Civic Center by noon for speeches and a “Census Fair” under the dome of City Hall. Bonus: “surprise celebrity guests” will be on the scene.

O.K. fine.

Now here’s the Good the Bad and the Ugly of your 2010 Census.

The Good: Everybody will get the same ten questions this go around – the “long form” is gone. Why? Cause the Govmint randomly asking 17% of respondents how many bathrooms they have, well that pissed people off and that hurt the compliance rate. (My grandmother, for one, was hopping mad about being compelled to complete her long form ten years back. Pourquoi moi? Pourquoi moi? Je ne sais pas pourquoi. Pourquoi pas, Grand-Mère?)

The Bad: You can’t use the Internet to fulfill your obligation. Oddly enough, they let you go online in 2000, but they won’t for 2010. Pourquoi? Encore, pourquoi pas? The World Wide Web might make things easier on you, but the Feds don’t want to deal with iPhoned-up poindexters such as yourself.

The Ugly: The information you give could be used to round you up when some government agency feels like it. That’s unlikely to be a big concern for you for a bunch of reasons, but the Census Bureau has a bad record of fessing up about the times they messed up in the past. Hey, let’s review right now.

Here’s 2020 Van Ness back in the day, back in 1942 when census data was used to round up Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans (ask about our “just one drop of Japanese blood” policy!) living in the area.

Your Census Bureau at Work. Next stop: a horse stable or an “alien reception facility” in the high desert about 11 hours from here. (OMG, OMG, Bus Tour!)

The same place today, for comparison:

Now, the Boys at the Census had a defense for their failures during WWII (detailed here, from about 20 years ago), but it turns out they were lying about that. Scientific American has the deets.

I guess I wasn’t too impressed with this dog and pony show from last year. Actually, that meeting had to do with sending out letters informing people about the census in languages other than English, which is fine, as the Feds eventually decided, but IMO the Bureau should be upfront about their issues with privacy.

Just saying.

Anyway, a census requirement is burned into the Constitution, so brace yourselves for March 2010, when the forms go out.

(And thank Gaia you’re not a census worker doing Caucasian Outreach in some place like western Montana. Based upon my short stop at a Chevron near the Idaho Panhandle back in the aughts, well, representing the Feds could be a very challenging gig, is all I can say.) 

“On behalf of the San Francisco’s office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs and the Complete Count Committee, I would like to invite our community to attend the SF 2010 Census Kickoff Rally and Information Fair on Monday January 4th from 12 noon to 2:00 PM at City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco.

Program highlights are drum jam opening performance by local performers on City Hall steps, remarks by the Mayor and members of the Board of Supervisors and some surprise celebrity guests.

The importance of this rally is to start the United States 2010 Census. This count happens every ten years and it is important for our community to be counted accurately so it can obtain proper allocation of the federal, state and local resources.

On Monday January 4th, the Portrait of America Road Tour bus will start at 4:00 AM at Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, filmed by national media, and drive through San Francisco neighborhoods, arriving at City Hall at Noon for the rally. The Road Tour will continue its travel across America to collect images and stories from thousands of people across the country, explaining why the census will make a difference to their community.”

*Or vehicle tour, we’ll see when it gets here – somebody from Census 2010 told me they were going to use buses, but that was a while back…