NTSB to Hold Hearing on San Francisco Bay Spill Accident

The National Transportation Safety Board has released the preliminary agenda for the public hearing on the container ship M/V Cosco Busan, which spilled about 55,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil after striking the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on Nov. 7, 2007. The hearing will be held on April 8-9, 2008, at the NTSB Board Room and Conference Center in Washington, DC. The final agenda will be released today following a pre-hearing conference.

"This accident presents the Board with many questions, such as: Was the Cosco Busan's bridge navigation equipment working properly? Was there adequate oversight of the San Francisco bar pilot? Did the Coast Guard's Vessel Traffic Service exert the appropriate level of control over the Cosco Busan?," said Chairman Mark V. Rosenker, who will chair the hearing. "There are a number of areas that we will be focusing on to get a more comprehensive understanding of the factors that led to this accident."

The preliminary agenda is as follows:

Tuesday, April 8

  • NTSB Chairman's opening statement and introductions
  • Overview of accident by investigator in charge
  • Cosco Busan navigation and safety management systems
  • Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) and harbor safety
  • Accident notification and initial spill assessment

Wednesday, April 9

  • Medical and performance oversight of San Francisco bar pilot
  • U.S. pilot associations (policies and practices)
  • State pilot oversight commissions (policies and practices)
  • Closing remarks by Chairman Rosenker

The hearing will be webcast. NTSB says the purpose of this investigative hearing is to obtain additional evidence and further develop the board's understanding of the facts identified thus far in the investigation. The determination of probable cause will not be made during this hearing, but rather will be finalized at a public board meeting once the investigation is completed.

For more information, visit www.ntsb.gov.

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