Major Oil Spill Allegedly Caused By Ship Anchor Cracking An Oil Pipeline Off Southern California

The major oil spill close to Orange County, California, may have been brought about by a ship’s anchor. The spill, reported on 2 October, originated from a pipeline that ran from the Long Beach port to an oil platform (offshore) – Elly. Until Monday, the catastrophe resulted in about 126,000 gallons of oil gushing into the ocean. This resulted in a slick spanning approximately 8,320 acres.

The massive spillage has left oil along stretches of sand in the beaches of Newport, Laguna, and Huntington. It has killed birds and fish and threatened wetlands. On Monday, oil from the spillage referred to as an environmental catastrophe by local officials, headed south toward the coves surrounding Laguna Beach.

Image Credits: Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Brahm / U.S. Coast Guard

Martyn Willsher, Amplify Energy CEO, said that an anchor of an area cargo ship cracking the pipe is one of the possibilities now being examined. In the meantime, the company (Amplify) has been cited six dozen times for issues serious enough for its drilling activities to be halted or curbed altogether until problems were rectified, regulatory records reflect.

Rebecca Ore, the Coast Guard Captain, has reportedly said that efforts to beef up staffing to contain the spill are ongoing. A pelican that sustained wing injuries had to be humanely euthanized at the site.

Michael Ziccardi, Oiled Wildlife Care Network director, said that at present, the oil spill’s toll on local wildlife is significantly better than what was feared. Ziccardi added that while he is “cautiously optimistic” about the spill’s outcome, time will suggest the actual impact as most oiled birds surface two to five days after disasters.

Unified command continues response to oil spill off Orange County beaches
Image Credits: Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Brahm / U.S. Coast Guard

In 2017, the California Senate had reportedly passed a resolution that opposed gas or new oil drilling activities in offshore California’s federal waters. In 2019, the former Trump government had envisioned leasing out the country’s coast and expanding offshore oil drilling.

California, however, had passed a law prohibiting new leases from constructing oil and gas-related infrastructure, including pipelines, in state waters if the federal government authorizes new offshore oil leases.

Gavin Newsom, the California Governor, said that he would put a stop to oil drilling within the state by the year 2045.


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