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Inquiry into California tanker crash expands

SAN FRANCISCO — Federal transportation officials said Tuesday that they have joined an investigation into the crash of an empty oil tanker into a tower in the middle of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

The National Transportation Safety Board will coordinate its effort with the Coast Guard, which planned Tuesday to interview the pilot of the 752-foot Overseas Reymar.

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The NTSB also said it would review Monday’s crash in light of safety recommendations made after another tanker hit a nearby tower on the same bridge in 2007.

That crash spilled tens of thousands of gallons of oil into the bay.

Monday’s crash of the Overseas Reymar has been classified by the Coast Guard as a ‘‘major marine casualty’’ because it exceeded $500,000 in property damage, the NTSB said. No oil leaks were reported.

The unidentified pilot also will report to the state Board of Pilot Commissioners, which will do its own investigation. The board regulates bar pilots, who are required by the state to guide every large vessel while it is in San Francisco Bay. The pilot of the Overseas Reymar has been a San Francisco bar pilot since 2005, said a spokesman for the San Francisco Bar Pilots Association.

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