According to preliminary results from an ongoing investigation, the pipeline that spilled at least 126,000 gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California could have been damaged a year ago, the US Coast Guard said. ..
Officials said the leak occurred three miles off the coast of Newport Beach, California and caused damage to a 17.5-mile pipeline that connects to an offshore oil rig called Erie, which is operated by Beta Offshore. ..
Coast Guard Captain Jason Neubauer told a news conference near Los Angeles that the pipeline was intact, according to a routine study conducted by Beta Offshore in October 2020.
“That will be the starting point for the investigation for now,” he said.
Investigators are “fairly certain” that the anchor of the “large ship” collided with the pipe’s concrete shell and pulled the pipe more than 30 meters from its original location, Captain Neubauer said.
Captain Neubauer said another “anchor incident or geological event” could further damage this section of the pipeline.
Investigators are probing the broken pipe and the observed ocean growth there, he said, to find out what happened.
“From our point of view, there may be a small break or no pause at first contact,” said the captain. “I don’t know at the moment.”
Phone messages left in beta overseas were not immediately returned on Saturday.
The spill caused a 13-square-mile slip earlier this month. As the cleanup team raced to contain the leak, dead fish and birds were flung ashore, creating an oil spill from Huntington Beach to Newport Beach.
Pollution caused authorities to close off Huntington Beach. Huntington Beach is on day three of its annual Pacific Air Show. Canceled Sunday The day after, about 1.5 million people gathered at sea to see the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds.
Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Kah told a news conference on Sunday that the oil spill was “one of the most devastating situations facing our community in decades.”
Several previous oil spills have threatened the coast of California.
The 3 million gallon leak from Santa Barbara in 1969 is believed to have helped start the modern environmental movement. There is no federal act governing offshore drilling during a breakout.
In 2015, a break in an overland pipeline sent more than 100,000 gallons of crude, much of it into the ocean near Santa Barbara. In October 2020, a $22 million agreement was reached to restore natural resources damaged by the leak.
Environmentalists say oil spills can kill thousands of animals and cost tens of millions of dollars to clean and pollute beaches for months.