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January 7, 2009

California seeks damages in Cosco Busan case

California has filed suit in the Cosco Busan case, naming the owners, operators and pilot of the vessel that spilled more than 53,000 gallons of oil into San Francisco Bay after hitting the Bay Bridge in November 2007.

The suit was brought yesterday by California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. on behalf of the California Department of Fish and Game Office of Spill Prevention and Response, State Lands Commission and State Water Boards.

The defendants include:

Regal Stone Ltd.

Fleet Management Ltd.

Hanjin Shipping Co. Ltd.

Synergy Management Services

Synergy Marine Ltd.

John J. Cota, San Francisco Bar Pilot

Fleet Management, a subsidiary of Hong Kong's Noble Group and one of the world's largest ship managers, is already facing federal charges that include negligently causing the discharge of 50,000 gallons of oil from the Cosco Busan and falsifying documents after the crash to cover-up the negligence. Captain Cota has been charged negligence and with lying to federal agents about his health and medical treatment. The federal trial is expected to start in April.

The California lawsuit filed yesterday aims to recover damages to restore natural resources injured by the spill and the costs of response, containment and clean-up. The lawsuit also seeks to recover the costs of removal and treatment of wildlife affected by the spill, as well as the cost of assessing natural resource damages, legal costs and civil penalties.

According to the office of the California Attorney General, the state has spent countless resources from the Oil Spill Response Trust Fund on the clean-up and assessment of natural resource damages resulting from the massive oil spill.


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