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Unless negligence or misconduct is found, the owners and operators of the container ship that polluted San Francisco Bay with a 53,000 gallon oil spill will have liability limited to $39 million, according maritime insurance experts.

The incident, which is the subject of a federal criminal investigation, occurred on Nov. 7 when the Cosco Busan, hit a tower of the San Francisco Bay Bridge, gashing open its hull, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

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