NTSB to hold hearing on Cosco Busan spill

The following is the text of a press release issued by the National Transportation Safety Board:
Washington, D.C. – The National Transportation Safety Board
will hold a two-day public hearing as part of its ongoing
investigation into the accident in which the 901-foot
container ship M/V Cosco Busan spilled about 55,000 gallons
of fuel oil after striking the San Francisco-Oakland Bay
Bridge. The hearing will convene at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday,
April 8, 2008, at the NTSB’s Board Room and Conference
Center, 429 L’Enfant Plaza, SW., Washington, D.C.

“This hearing will give us a good opportunity to learn what
happened that day, how it happened, and about the systems
and procedures that might have prevented such an accident
from occurring in the first place,” said NTSB Chairman Mark
V. Rosenker who will chair the hearing.  

At about 8:00 a.m. PST on November 7, 2007, the Hong Kong-
flagged Cosco Busan departed the Port of Oakland in foggy
conditions with a San Francisco Bay Bar Pilot on the bridge
directing the navigation of the vessel.  At about 8:30 a.m.,
the ship, destined for Busan, Korea, struck the fendering
system at the base of one of the bridge’s supporting towers.
Damage to the vessel caused a breech in two of the ship’s
fuel tanks, which resulted in the oil spill.  Preliminary
property damage and environmental clean-up costs are
estimated to exceed $60 million.

The meeting will focus on the following issues: the Cosco
Busan’s Safety Management System and navigation equipment
operability, accident notification and initial spill
assessment, role of the Vessel Traffic Service, and state
pilotage oversight.

Among those expected to testify are witnesses from the U.S.
Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Game, San
Francisco Bar Pilots Association, Fleet Management Limited
(operators of the Cosco Busan), California Board of Pilot
Commissioners, American Pilots Association, and Sperry

The hearing will be webcast. An agenda and webcast details
will be posted on the Board’s website, www.ntsb.gov <file://www.ntsb.gov> , when


NTSB Media Contact: Peter Knudson
(202) 314-6100

By Professional Mariner Staff