Disciplinary Decision For Tanker Pilot Who Hit The Bay Bridge To Be Announced Monday

A disciplinary order against the pilot of an oil tanker that struck the Bay Bridge in January will be announced Monday, a state board said today.

The state’s Board of Pilot Commissioners will meet Monday to vote on a stipulated settlement and disciplinary order against Captain Guy Kleess, board officials said today.

The vote was initially scheduled for Thursday’s meeting but the board adjourned to resume its discussion on Monday.

Kleess was piloting the 752-foot Overseas Reymar on Jan. 7 when it struck a fender on a tower of the bridge’s western span around 11:15 a.m.

No oil spilled from the boat and no one aboard was injured. The incident caused about $1.6 million in damage to the ship and bridge fender, according to a report released in April by an incident review committee for the state board.

The board voted unanimously in April to seek the suspension or revocation of Kleess’ license. His license was temporarily suspended following that vote.

Executive director Allen Garfinkle in April called Kleess “complacent,” saying that he had “relied on his past routine” rather than taking the day’s conditions into account.

According to a report Garfinkle presented to the board, Kleess relied solely on a 10-cm radar used for longer distances while passing under the bridge despite poor visibility due to fog.

Kleess had three minor incidents on his record after being licensed by the board in 2005, but those incidents did not result in any restrictions placed on his license.

The Board of Pilot Commissioners licenses up to 60 pilots who guide ships through the Bays of San Francisco, San Pablo and Suisun.

The January incident drew increased attention after the 2007 Cosco Busan spill, in which the container ship hit a fender on another tower of the Bay Bridge, causing more than 53,000 gallons of heavy bunker fuel to leak into the bay.

The fender on the bridge has since been repaired, and the state has been fully reimbursed by the company that owned the ship, Metropolitan Transportation spokesman Randy Rentschler said today.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!