Although the National Transportation Safety Board has yet to release its report on the causes of last year's crash, today the pilot of the Cosco Busan, John Joseph Cota of Petaluma, was charged in federal court. The feds, it seems, found him in violation of two federal laws when he accidentally steered the container ship into the Bay Bridge on November 9 2007, which then released 53,000 gallons of oil into the bay.

According to the Gate, Cota is charged with "negligent discharge of a pollutant and with killing migratory birds including the brown pelican, marbled murrelet, and the western grebe."

Investigators from the State Board of Pilot Commissioners have also noted that Cota had made "a number of errors, including sailing in a dense fog, and that 'pilot error' was the cause of the crash."

According to court papers, CBS 5 reports, Cota was not taken into custody after being charged. The NTSB, however will hold a hearing on the oil spill in early April. They "anticipate establishing a 'probable cause'" by the end of this year.