Grand Jury Calls Spill Ship Crew

Coast Guard slammed for focusing on homeland security, not environment
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2007 4:38 AM CST
A sign warning visitors of hazardous materials is shown at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, Monday, Nov. 12, 2007. Federal investigators were considering Monday whether to file criminal charges against the...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The crew of the container ship that rammed a San Francisco Bay bridge and dumped 58,000 gallons of oil have been served subpoenas to appear before a federal grand jury, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The US attorney's office is investigating whether crimes were committed in the disaster and are examining reports that the ship captain may have downplayed the extent of the damage.

The Coast Guard continues to come under fire for its slow reaction and inadequate response to the spill, with some charging that the organization's mission has changed from protecting water environments to homeland security, reports the Los Angeles Times. The cleanup is now focused on a weeks-long mopping of rocks, beaches and birds. "This event should have never occurred," said a Coast Guard official.