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Cargo ships off the coast of San Pedro, Calif., wait for entry to the Port of Los Angeles or Port of Long Beach, Oct. 6. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating whether the Rotterdam Express, a massive German-flagged cargo ship, could have played a role in causing the 126,000-gallon oil spill in Southern California waters, AP reports.

Driving the news: U.S. Coast Guard investigators boarded the cargo ship on Wednesday as part of the investigation into the cause of the oil spill, which is among the largest in recent California history.

  • The ship, now docked in the Port of Oakland, made three unusual movements over two days while anchored near where the break in the pipeline occurred, AP reports.
  • The investigators are seeking to collect tracking information from the Rotterdam Express that could shed light on the ship's exact movements, an official told AP.
  • Officials said Wednesday that the Amplify Energy pipeline was split open and dragged along the ocean floor, potentially by a ship's anchor.

The big picture: California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday declared a state of emergency due to the oil spill, which is believed to have dumped 126,000 gallons of oil into the ocean.

  • Officials caution that the Rotterdam Express is just one potential area of interest for the investigation into the oil spill.

What they're saying: "There is a series of peculiar things and all that need to be explained," Nikolas Xiros, a professor of marine engineering at the University of New Orleans, told AP.

  • "It may very well be some kind of an accident, but not necessarily a human error. We will have to see. But … I think the most probable explanation is the ship with anchor down moved both back and forth and possibly caused damage to the pipeline."

Go deeper: California oil spill may have been caused by ship anchor

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Dec 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Navy ship stuck in port due to COVID outbreak

USS Milwaukee. Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

The USS Milwaukee is temporarily unable to sail after a COVID-19 outbreak among its "100% immunized" crew, the U.S. Navy said Friday, without specifying how many sailors tested positive.

Driving the news: The Navy has not determined the variant of COVID and the sailors who tested positive are isolated from the rest of the crew. The ship is ported in Cuba's Guantanamo Bay, less than two weeks after its deployment.

1 hour ago - World

Biden will move U.S. troops to Eastern Europe "in the near term"

President Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on Jan. 28. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said on Friday he plans to move U.S. troops to Eastern European and NATO countries “in the near term.”

Driving the news: “Not too many” U.S. troops, Biden added in remarks to reporters at Joint Base Andrew upon returning from a trip to Pennsylvania. 

Updated 2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a potentially historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

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