Cosco Busan Owner Blame Government For SF Bay Oil Spill

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The shipping company that owned the container ship that caused a major oil spill in San Francisco Bay last year claims the government is at fault for licensing a pilot with a history of drug and alcohol abuse.

The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit six months ago accusing the pilot and the owner of the Cosco Busan of breaking environmental laws when the ship struck a bridge support and spilled 53,000 gallons of toxic oil.

In legal papers filed Thursday, Hong Kong-based ship owner Regal Stone argues that the episode was caused by what it called the gross negligence and willful misconduct of the United States.

The company says the government should not have granted Capt. John Cota licenses because he was not medically fit for duty.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-06-06-08 1721EDT

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