October 7 (WNN) — Officials are investigating a German container ship that was anchored near an oil spill site off the coast of Southern California.
As the Los Angeles Times reports, the US Coast Guard boarded the Rotterdam Express in Oakland, where investigators are seeking evidence following global situation data that the ship was anchored near the spill area on Friday.
Investigators found a 13-inch wound in a section of an oil pipeline that spilled an estimated 1444,000 gallons of oil, about 5 miles from Huntington Beach in Orange County.
The 4,000-foot section of pipe was pulled about 100 feet from its original location, leading investigators to suspect that it may have been bent and pulled by a ship’s anchor. Satellite data shows that the ship’s location was the closest anchorage location to the pipeline.
The area is crowded with a large number of container ships waiting to dock at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Supply chain challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic led to a standstill.
According to the Wall Street Journal report, eight container ships and two tankers were anchored in the area at the time of the leak.
The Rotterdam Express left anchor on 22 September and remained in place until Sunday. It arrived in Oakland on Wednesday.
SkyTruth President John Amos said the ship was never closer to 1,500 feet from the pipeline when the leak was discovered Friday night and is unlikely to have been responsible for the spill, reports the Los Angeles Times. SkyTruth is a non-profit organization that tracks environmental issues using satellite data.
“During this period the ship has not moved beyond anchorage and has not passed over the pipeline, Nils Haupt, a spokesman for the ship’s owner, Lapag-Lloyd, told the Times.
They disputed traffic reports that showed the ship was moving away from its anchorage before returning to the spot.
Houston-based Amplify Energy notified the Coast Guard about the leak on Saturday morning after employees noticed a glimmer of oil in the water. There were a few reports of a petroleum smell the night before.