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 Marine.
The hearing will be webcast. An agenda and webcast details will be posted on the Board's website, www.ntsb.gov, when available.