Pilot changed course before ship hit SF Bay Bridge

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Associated Press

Posted on January 15, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 15 at 2:05 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A newspaper report says the pilot of the empty oil tanker that sideswiped the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge made a course change immediately before clipping a support tower.

The San Jose Mercury News (http://tinyurl.com/ay2yp66 ) reported Tuesday that Capt. Guy Kleess initially indicated he planned to sail the 752-foot Overseas Reymar between two towers near the middle of the span on Jan. 7. But San Francisco port agent Capt. Peter McIsaac says Kleess then tried to steer the vessel through a different opening as he approached the bridge.

McIsaac says it's unclear why Kleess made the late course change in foggy conditions amid a strong current.

The Coast Guard continues to investigate the incident, which damaged about 30 feet of protective fender material but did no structural damage to the bridge.

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Information from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, http://www.mercurynews.com

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