Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Archive for April 2008

April 23, 2008

Cosco Busan pilot slapped with felony charges

Another legal slap, this one serious, has been handed down to the Cosco Busan pilot who was in charge of navigating the container ship that struck the Bay Bridge and spilled 54,000 gallons of oil.

Today a federal grand jury added two felony counts of lying to the Coast Guard to an earlier indictment. The new charges stem from physical exams he took in January 2006 and January 2007 to renew his federal pilot’s license. In those exams, the pilot, John Cota, 60, of Petaluma, did not disclose the host of medications he was taking.

Because of the spill, thousands of birds perished in the San Francisco Bay Area. Many more are believed dead after the November 7, 2007 spill closed beaches in the bay and along the outer coastline in Marin County and at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach.

Read the San Francisco Chronicle story online

April 16, 2008

Make Mom proud, adopt a duckling!

Mother’s Day just around the corner and have we got the perfect gift idea: Adopt a orphaned duckling!

She doesn’t have to care for it, wash it or feed it; IBRRC will do all the work. She’ll get a nice certificate and photo to show her you really care about these adorable little birds. Besides, haven’t you given her every pot holder known to motherkind? Or taken her to Marie Callenders or Applebees enough in the last few years?

The duckling adoption costs $25 or adopt a clutch of ducklings for $75 and really make her proud. We take credit cards online or you can download an adoption form and send in a check. Adoption info

Last year IBRRC raised about 1,500 ducklings brought to our California bird centers. They take a lot of care, eat a ton of duck food and IBRRC relies on the public’s help to cover the cost.

Help us make a difference in the lives of these wonderful waterfowl and give mom something to remember on May 11th.

April 12, 2008

IBRRC joins Earth Day at Universal Studios

The Hollywood theme park that will soon give us the new Simpson’s ride “Krustyland” is set to host its Earth Day inspired Eco-Fair on Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. International Bird Rescue will have a booth at the green themed fair located at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

They will be 30 interactive and educational displays, celebrity appearances, free parking for hybrid car owners and a hazardous waste disposal drive. The the Eco-Fair is part of NBC Universal’s ongoing “Green is Universal” campaign to help raise awareness and get consumers to save the environment.

By the way, the new Krustyland $40-million ride which opens May 17, will feature energy saving “on demand” hydraulic power systems and energy efficient lighting systems. Saving Doh! and the environment all in one swoop.

Read all about the fair here

April 9, 2008

NTSB: Pilot’s personal issues affected judgement

A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) hearing looking into the Cosco Busan oil spill, shed more light on the personal problems of the pilot captain that may have contributed to the disaster on San Francisco Bay.

The NTSB revealed that Capt. John Cota is an alcoholic who also was using prescription drugs during work hours to treat depression and sleep apnea.

“I wouldn’t want anyone taking those medicines and having to make decisions in a safety-sensitive position,” Dr. Robert Bourgeois told an NTSB panel on Wednesday.

With Cota piloting the 900-foot Cosco Busan, the ship struck the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in heavy fog on November 7, 2007. It spilled toxic fuel oil into the bay that fouled the bay and killed at least 2,500 birds.

Cota through his attorney is refusing to testify at the panel’s hearing in Washington, DC this week. He is citing his 5th amendment right against self incrimination.

Read the San Francisco Chronicle story

April 8, 2008

In wake of SF oil spill: Legislators get busy

The hue and cry over the Cosco Busan oil spill response in San Francisco Bay is finally making itself heard in the California legislature. A least seven new bills have been introduced to force improvements on everything from the state’s oil spill response to volunteer training.

The spill dumped almost 54,000 gallons of bunker crude into the bay after the 900-foot Cosco Busan container ship struck the San Francisco Bay Bridge in heavy fog. The November 2007 disaster closed beaches and killed at least 2,500 birds.

The bills to force change cleared the Assembly Natural Resources committee and will be sent on to the General Assembly.

The bills include:

- Requiring the office of the Oil Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) to provide grants that allow local emergency officials to train and certify volunteers to help in cleanup efforts.

-Increasing the Oil Spill Response Trust Fund from $55 million to $100 million by imposing a 25 cent fee on each barrel of oil produced in or imported into California.

- Improve recovery of wildlife affected by an oil spill by developing and implementing training programs for local officials and volunteers.

These bills are the most significant to come out of the legislature since the middle 1990s when a couple of ammendments added more bite to the original Lempert-Keene-Seastrand Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act that was passed in 1990. That Act required the Administrator of the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) to establish rescue and rehabilitation stations for aquatic birds, sea otters, and other marine mammals.

Later in 1993, Senate Bill 775 allowed OSPR to use the interest accrued from the State’s Oil Spill Response Trust Fund to build at least six major centers to care for oiled wildlife.

Read more: San Francisco Chronicle