2007-12-22 01:09:14 China Business Strategy
San Francisco - Six weeks after a collision with the Bay Bridge and a monumental oil spill, the container ship Cosco Busan sailed out of San Francisco Bay on Thursday, with 18 Chinese crew onboard.
Six other crew members, including the captain, have remained in the United States to assist a court probe, the China News Service reported.
Nobody has been arrested so far, the report said.
The 274-m ship has been fitted with temporary steel plates and bracing to cover the hole in its hull, after the vessel scraped a support tower for the Bay Bridge. The ship, now headed for South Korea, will need permanent repairs, US Coast Guard spokesman Dan Dewell said.
The Cosco Busan spilled 219,000 liters of fuel into the bay on November 7, after sideswiping the Bay Bridge on a foggy morning.
US officials have filed misconduct charges against the pilot, John Cota, who advised the ship's captain.
The US Department of Justice has filed a civil suit against the ship's owner and its insurance company.
The ship sailed out of San Francisco Bay after the US federal government and the ship's owner resolved a legal standoff that had kept the vessel in the US for more than six weeks.
The government asked for and received $79.5 million, the full value of the ship, as a security deposit to cover a possible judgment in its civil case against the ship's owner.
In a statement issued last month, shortly after the accident, Chinese shipping giant COSCO Container Line denied any legal connection with the Cosco Busan ship.
The Chinese crew members remained on the ship after the accident, because they did not have proper papers to enter the US.