The trial of Petaluma pilot John Cota and shipping company Fleet Management on charges stemming from the Cosco Busan oil spill might begin 10 days after the one-year anniversary of the environmental disaster.
Cota, 60, who was piloting the container ship Cosco Busan when it hit a protective fender of the Bay Bridge last fall, was originally due to go on trial Oct. 6 on two charges. The accident caused nearly 54,000 gallons of heavy bunker fuel to spill into the Bay on Nov. 7, 2007.
U.S. District Judge Susan Illston set a tentative Nov. 17 trial date Friday despite protests from Cota’s attorney that the Nov. 7 anniversary of the fuel spill could stir up “stories and other negative comments that make it difficult for Mr. Cota to get a fair trial.”
The judge scheduled the next status conference for Aug. 15.