Man, accused of altering license, to alter his plea

A Fairfield man is expected to change his plea of not guilty today on charges of falsifying documents and neglect of duty in connection with an incident in which a Hornblower ship sideswiped a San Francisco pier in 2006.

On Dec. 4, 2006, Shawn Keith Cox was guiding the California Hornblower ship into the Port after a Sunday brunch cruise on San Francisco Bay when it ran into Pier 3. The boat scraped the edge, causing minimal damage, according to Hornblower spokeswoman Tegan Firth.

In the ensuing investigation, federal authorities found Cox had altered a U.S. Coast Guard merchant mariner license that was issued in 1996 to make it look as if it were issued in 2006, according to the federal grand jury indictment handed down Feb. 21. Later, Cox offered a false statement in a report to the Coast Guard about whether he possessed a license.

Hornblower now screens applicants with more scrutiny as a result of the incident, Firth said.

Cox originally pleaded not guilty to charges of alteration of federal license, use of false document and neglect of duty by seaman. The change of plea hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. today in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

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