December 9, 2007
USCG seeks pilot's merchant mariner license
Coast Guard Sector San Francisco has requested Capt. John J. Cota to voluntarily deposit his Federal Merchant Marine Officer's license with the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard believes he is not physically competent to maintain the license.
Capt. Cota was the ship's pilot, operating under the authority of a State of California pilot's license, at the time of the incident.
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 a vessel pilot or officer.
If Capain Cota refuses to voluntarily deposit his Federal Merchant Marine Officer's license, the Coast Guard has the option to charge Capt. Cota with incompetence and request a hearing before an administrative law judge to seek suspension or revocation of his license.
As reported earlier, Captain Cota's pilot license has been suspended since November 30.