Months before the oil spill, the pipeline may have suffered silent damage

The pipeline that dumped at least 126,000 gallons of oil in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California could have been damaged up to...


The pipeline that dumped at least 126,000 gallons of oil in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California could have been damaged up to a year earlier, according to preliminary results of an ongoing investigation, the US Coast Guard said.

The officials said the escape occurred three miles off the coast of Newport Beach, California, and involved a failure of a 17.5 mile pipeline connected to an offshore oil rig called Elly, operated by Beta Offshore.

The pipeline was intact as of October 2020, according to a routine investigation conducted at that time by Beta Offshore, Coast Guard Captain Jason Neubauer said at a press conference near Los Angeles on Friday.

“So this is going to be, for now, our starting point to investigate,” he said.

Investigators are “fairly certain” that an anchor from a “large ship” struck the concrete casing of the pipeline and dragged the pipeline more than 100 feet from its original location, Captain Neubauer said .

Other “contributory downstream incidents, whether anchor strikes or geological events”, may have further damaged this section of the pipeline, Captain Neubauer said.

Investigators are examining the damaged pipeline and the marine growth therein and trying to determine what happened, he said.

“From our perspective, once the initial contact is made, it’s possible there was a small fracture or no fracture,” said the captain. “It would be impossible to say at the moment. “

A phone message left at Beta Offshore was not immediately returned on Saturday.

The spill created a 13 square mile slick earlier this month. Dead fish and birds washed up on the shore as cleanup crews rushed to contain the spill, which created an oil slick from Huntington Beach to Newport Beach.

The spill prompted authorities to close the beaches of Huntington Beach, where the third day of the annual Pacific Airshow was canceled on sunday, a day after around 1.5 million people gathered by the ocean to watch the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds.

Mayor Kim Carr of Huntington Beach told a press conference on Sunday that the spill was “one of the most devastating situations our community has faced in decades.”

Several precedents oil spills have the californian coastline in peril.

A three million gallon spill Santa barbara in 1969 was credited with helping to create the modern environmental movement. At the time of the spill, there was no federal measures in place to regulate offshore drilling.

In 2015, an overland pipeline rupture sent more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil primarily into the ocean near Santa Barbara. To restore natural resources damaged by the spill, a $ 22 million settlement was finalized in October 2020.

Environmentalists point out that oil spills can kill thousands of animals, costing tens of millions of dollars to clean up and contaminate beaches for months.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Months before the oil spill, the pipeline may have suffered silent damage
Months before the oil spill, the pipeline may have suffered silent damage
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