(SAN FRANCISCO) — Coast Guard Sector San Francisco received Capt John J. Cota’s Federal Merchant Marine Officers license today through ‘voluntary deposit’. The Coast Guard requested Cota deposit his federal license with the Coast Guard because the service believes he is not physically competent to maintain it.
Capt. Cota was serving as the pilot of the motor vessel Cosco Busan, operating under the authority of a State of California pilot’s license, when the ship struck the delta tower of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on Nov. 7. Upon review of Cota’s federal license files following the incident the Coast Guard discovered competency issues which cause concern about his ability to safely serve under his federal license.
Voluntary deposit is an administrative procedure used in cases where there is evidence of mental or physical incompetence. The mariner deposits his license with the Coast Guard on condition that the Coast Guard will not return it until the Coast Guard receives satisfactory evidence that the mariner is considered fit for full duty without qualification, and the mariner initiates action to regain his credentials. This gives the Coast Guard an assurance that the mariner is not working as an officer or any other licensed position. Cota had been granted an extension on the Coast Guard’s original deposit request and agreed to leave his license with his own lawyer during that extension.