Peter McIsaac, president of the San Francisco Bar Pilots association, has known Kleess since 2003 and called him "very smart and energetic.
characterized the three previous incidents as minor, saying they happened in narrow waterways where such accidents would be more likely than in wide bays.
is a competent mariner," McIsaac
said two factors that may have contributed to Monday's collision were a fast-moving fog bank and a strong current.
The association's guidelines recommend that a pilot not start a journey if visibility is below a half-mile, and officials have said visibility at the time of the accident was a quarter-mile.
"However, we think he
had adequate visibility when he
left and then it changed," McIsaac
"In the winter, the fog is unpredictable."
Tide tables show that the current was flowing at one of its strongest ebbs of the day when the ship grazed the bridge tower at 11:20 a.m., McIsaac
"It looks to me like he
was trying to steer away from the tower at the time of the incident," McIsaac
said the latest accident surprised him, given what he
described as an otherwise good safety record for bay shipping.
"I thought the one in 2007 was a 100-year incident," he