Investigators imagine a 1,200-foot cargo ship dragging anchor in tough seas caught an underwater oil pipeline and pulled it throughout the seafloor, months earlier than a leak from the road fouled the Southern California shoreline with crude.
A crew of federal investigators making an attempt to chase down the reason for the spill boarded the Panama-registered MSC DANIT simply hours after the huge ship arrived this weekend off the Port of Lengthy Seashore, the identical space the place the leak was found in early October.
Throughout a previous go to by the ship throughout a heavy storm in January, investigators imagine its anchor dragged for an unknown distance earlier than hanging the 16-inch metal pipe, Coast Guard Lt. j.g. SondraKay Kneen stated Sunday.
The impression would have knocked an inch-thick concrete casing off the pipe and pulled it greater than 100 ft, bending however not breaking the road, Kneen stated.
Nonetheless undetermined is whether or not the impression prompted the October leak, or if the road was hit by one thing else at a later date or failed because of a preexisting downside, Kneen stated.
“We’re nonetheless taking a look at a number of vessels and eventualities,” she stated.
The Coast Guard on Saturday designated the proprietor and operator as events of curiosity in its investigation into the spill, estimated to have launched about 25,000 gallons of crude into the water, killing birds, fish and mammals.
The accident only a few miles off Los Angeles’ Huntington Seashore fouled seashores and wetlands and led to non permanent closures for cleanup work . Whereas not as dangerous as initially feared, it has reignited the talk over offshore drilling in federal waters within the Pacific, the place a whole bunch of miles of pipelines have been put in many years in the past.
The DANIT’s operator, MSC Mediterranean Transport Firm, is headquartered in Switzerland and has a fleet of 600 vessels and greater than 100,000 employees, based on the corporate.
MSC representatives didn’t instantly reply to electronic mail messages looking for remark. A safety guard reached by phone on the firm’s headquarters in Geneva stated it was closed till Monday.
The vessel’s proprietor, recognized by the Coast Guard as Dordellas Finance Company, couldn’t be reached for remark.
The DANIT arrived in Lengthy Seashore this weekend after voyaging from China, based on marine site visitors monitoring web sites.