Coast Guard: Tanker Was Issued Warning

The Coast Guard says its vessel traffic service issued a warning to the Overseas Reymar before it hit the Bay Bridge Monday.

The agency isn't detailing the exact wording but says audio recordings reveal there was some type of warning moments before 11:20 a.m.

But that didn't stop the accident.

Experienced bar pilot, 61-year-old Guy Kleess, was in control of the oil tanker when it hit the bridge tower fender, nicking the base of it, and damaging the hull of the boat, causing more than $500,000 in damage. No one was injured and there was no environmental damage.

Veteran maritime attorney John Hillsman says even with a warning there can be confusion when a bar pilot and a foreign crew work together.

Hillsman says," There can be communication problems, there can also be problems reading instrumentation."

When the Cosco Busan hit the Bay Bride in 2007 investigators determined the crew misread its onboard radar and headed straight for a tower.

The Cosco Busan spilled more than 50,000 of oil into the bay. After that environmental disaster the San Francisco Harbor Safety Committee adopted new reduced visibility rules.

Ships are not allowed to move in critical maneuvering areas if visibility is less than half a mile. When the Overseas Reymar hit the bridge Monday, visibility was a quarter of a mile. But committee members say it appears the Bay Bridge is not a critical maneuvering area. That's something committee members are now talking about changing.

In the meantime, the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board continue to investigate why the Overseas Reymar hit the bridge.

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