Local media reported, Tuesday, that the Coast Guard is looking into determining whether the oil spill that threatens California’s beaches was caused by the anchor of a ship that pierced an oil pipeline.
• Read also: Southern California was hit by an oil spill
In total, the 24 km of shoreline between Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach, the popular beaches in South Los Angeles also known for dolphins, seals and other marine life, have been closed to the public.
Fishing has also been banned due to the leak reported over the weekend from a nearby transit pipeline, which can hold up to 480,000 liters of crude oil.
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are among the world’s busiest. Like other infrastructures of this kind, it faces significant delays, exacerbated by the Covid-19 health crisis, and many cargo ships and container ships are forced to wait at sea before they can dock.
Mooring points for these vessels are set away from pipelines and other underwater equipment.
But an anchor thrown in the wrong place could pull the pipeline for about fifteen meters, causing the leak, according to a source close to the oil spill investigation cited by the Los Angeles Times.
Relief has mobilized 14 specialized vessels that have been busy recovering as much oil as possible since Sunday. Just over 15,000 liters were extracted from the sea on Monday evening.
“We have many professionals working around the clock to clean up this oil spill and keep the public and the environment safe,” said Rebecca Orr, California Coastguard Captain.
Amplify Energy of Texas, which operates the pipeline through its subsidiary Beta Offshore, sent a remote-controlled vehicle to check its installation and had to send in a team of divers after identifying the likely source of the leak.
The company’s CEO, Martin Welcher, has vowed to “do whatever is necessary” to fix the impact of the oil spill, which can be contained in part by rescue-deployed floating booms.
Four seabirds stuck in oil were collected on Monday but some protected reserves along the coast were contaminated.
According to experts, it is still too early to assess the damage, because the consequences for the environment will not be felt for several days or even weeks.
The spill occurred at the origin of the oil spill near the Eli platform, which was built in 1980 to process crude oil extracted from dozens of nearby wells.
A total of 23 oil and gas rigs have been installed in federal waters in Southern California.
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