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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.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Nov 16, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Oil price relief could be "on the horizon"

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The global oil market remains tight but "a reprieve from the price rally could be on the horizon" as U.S. production rises, the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Its latest monthly analysis comes as elevated oil — and hence gasoline — prices are another political headache for President Biden amid broader inflation.

3 hours ago - Health

WHO: Not yet known whether Omicron leads to more severe disease

Photo illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Sunday said that it is not yet clear whether the newly discovered Omicron variant is more transmissible than other strains of the COVID-19 virus.

Why it matters: The agency's statement comes as the variant, discovered in South Africa, has already been detected in European and Asian countries.

9 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.