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US Coast Guard begins criminal investigation into California oil spill

[JURIST] The crew of the Cosco Busan, which leaked some 58,000 gallons of fuel oil into the San Fransisco Bay [IndyBay report] after colliding with a bridge last week, is being held for questioning by federal investigators as a criminal investigation into the oil spill begins, the US Coast Guard [official website] said Sunday. Coast Guard Captain William Uberti said that a preliminary Coast Guard investigation indicated that the ship crashed into the Bay Bridge due to human error, possibly because of communications and management problems among the crew members [AP report]. An independent probe by the National Transportation Safety Board [official website], which began work Sunday, will also investigate the incident.

The Cosco Busan crashed [Chronicle report] into the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge last Wednesday, cutting a 100-foot gash into the side of the ship. The Coast Guard noted that there was heavy fog at the time, but some, including US Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) [official website], say that weather cannot excuse the accident. The Coast Guard has been criticized for its delayed response, but Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen has promised a thorough investigation into the incident. AP has more.

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