Feds ID Ship Likely Responsible For Anchor-Dragging Incident In Huntington Beach Oil Spill
HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA) – Federal authorities have identified a ship they believe to have been responsible for the anchor dragging incident that may have subsequently caused the massive October oil leak off the coast of Huntington Beach.
The U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board Friday identified the cargo ship "Beijing" as the vessel likely involved in an "anchor-dragging incident" back in January that may have contributed to the leak.
Investigators boarded the vessel Thursday at the Port of Long Beach.
According to the Coast Guard, investigators determined the ship "was involved in an anchor dragging incident on Jan. 25, 2021 during a heavy weather event that impacted the Ports of L.A. and Long Beach." The anchor- dragging occurred "in close proximity" to an underwater pipeline later determined to be the source of the October leak that spilled thousands of gallons of oil into the ocean, forcing the closure of beaches and harbors across Orange County.
Beijing's owner, Capetanissa Maritime Corp. of Liberia, and operator, V.Ships Greece Ltd., have been named "parties in interest" in the investigation, a designation that allows the companies to hire attorneys and examine witnesses in the probe of the spill's cause.
On the morning of Oct. 2, a rupture was reported to a pipeline owned by Amplify Energy in federal waters at the Elly oil-rig platform, about 4 1/2 miles offshore of Huntington Beach. The nearly 18-mile pipeline runs from Amplify's offshore drilling platforms to a pump station in Long Beach.
Federal authorities confirmed that a section of Amplify's pipeline was damaged and moved more than 100 feet along the ocean floor, an indication that a ship's anchor may have caused the spill.
Authorities initially estimated that as much as 144,000 gallons of oil may have leaked from the damaged pipeline, but officials later said the actual amount is likely much lower, likely around 25,000 gallons, although there is no firm number.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
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