Oct 17, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Coast guard: California oil pipeline may have been dragged by cargo ship

Shoreline cleanup crews pick up tar balls

Shoreline cleanup crews pick up tar balls that have washed ashore along the beach at Crystal Cove State Park in Laguna Beach on Oct. 14. Photo: Mark Rightmire/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Investigators seeking the cause of the massive California oil spill said Sunday that the pipeline at the center of the leak may have been dragged along the ocean floor by a 1,200-foot cargo ship months before, AP reports.

Driving the news: The Panama-registered MSC DANIT may have struck the pipeline with its anchor when it arrived at the Port of Long Beach during a severe storm in January, breaking the pipe's inch-thick concrete casing and dragging it more than 100 feet, per AP.

Why it matters: It's not yet clear whether the incident caused this month's oil spill, or whether another object later also collided with the pipe, or if the pipe had a pre-existing problem, Coast Guard Lt. j.g. SondraKay Kneen said Sunday, per AP.

  • “We’re still looking at multiple vessels and scenarios,” she added.

The big picture: Earlier this month, Coast Guard officials said that the Amplify Energy pipeline had a gash in it over a foot wide and that it had been dragged more than 100 feet.

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