The shipping company that owned the Cosco Busan when it struck San Francisco's Bay Bridge last November has claimed that the resulting oil spill was the government's fault for licensing a pilot with a history of drug and alcohol abuse.
The counterclaims were contained in Hong Kong-based ship owner Regal Stone Ltd.'s formal response, filed Thursday, to a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit. The suit, filed six months ago, accused the pilot and Regal Stone of violating environmental laws when the ship struck a bridge support in San Francisco Bay, spilling 53,000 gallons of toxic oil.
The counterclaims draw on pilot Capt. John Cota's past. Among the disclosures is the fact that Cota had a sleep disorder and was taking prescription medication to ward off drowsiness, as well as Valium.