SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Two international shipping companies have agreed to pay San Francisco’s commercial fishermen $3.65 million in damages for an oil spill that occurred after the Cosco Busan container ship crashed into the Bay Bridge in 2007.

Stuart Gross, a lawyer for the fishermen, said the settlement will be shared by 120 people in seven different fisheries.

Gross said it brings to a close a hard-fought litigation process that ensued after the 900-foot ship leaked 53,000 gallons of bunker fuel into the bay when its hull was torn open by the accident.

KCBS’ Bob Melrose Reports:

Regal Stone, the vessel’s owner and Fleet Management, its operator, have already pleaded guilty and paid $10 million in charges of water pollution and falsifying documents.

“The defendants essentially dodged a bullet,” said Gross. “While what they spilled is highly toxic to marine life, the marine life of the San Francisco Bay was able to nonetheless survive in what appears to be a robust form.”

Gross said the award, while not insignificant, reflects new scientific observations indicating the fisheries could recover relatively well from the oil spill.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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