Investigators Board Cargo Ship Suspected of Causing California Oil Spill

Cargo ship offloading Long Beach (Patrick T. Fallon / AFP / Getty)
Patrick T. Fallon / AFP / Getty

U.S. Coast Guard investigators boarded a cargo vessel, the MSC Danit, on Saturday, suspecting that it may have caused the recent oil spill in Southern California after its anchor dragged across the ocean floor and ruptured an undersea oil pipeline.

A person stands near oil washed up on Huntington State Beach after a 126,000-gallon oil spill from an offshore oil platform on October 3, 2021 in Huntington Beach, California. The spill forced the closure of the popular Great Pacific Airshow with authorities urging people to avoid beaches in the vicinity. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A person stands near oil washed up on Huntington State Beach after a 126,000-gallon oil spill from an offshore oil platform on October 3, 2021 in Huntington Beach, California. The spill forced the closure of the popular Great Pacific Airshow with authorities urging people to avoid beaches in the vicinity. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The MSC Danit was built in South Korea in 2009, and is registered in Panama, flying a Panamanian flag. It is considered one of the largest cargo ships in the world.

The Los Angeles Times reported:

Investigators from the U.S. Coast Guard boarded a cargo vessel Saturday in Long Beach that could be tied to the rupture of a pipeline that spilled an estimated 25,000 gallons of oil off the Orange County coast, the agency said.

Braden Rostad, chief of investigations for Los Angeles-Long Beach, determined that the MSC DANIT, a large container ship, was involved in a Jan. 25 anchor-dragging incident during heavy weather at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

The anchor-dragging occurred near a pipeline that runs from an oil platform to the port of Long Beach. That pipeline was subsequently discovered to be the source of the Orange County oil spill on Oct. 2, the statement said. An oil sheen was first spotted that evening by a vessel 4½ miles off Huntington Beach and then detected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The MSC DANIT is just one of several ships under investigation, said Lt. SondraKay Kneen, a spokeswoman for the Coast Guard’s investigation team. However, Neubauer said no other ship owners or operators have received the “party in interest” designation.

As Breitbart News has noted, ships may have been near the pipeline due to the ongoing traffic jam at the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports, which has seen dozens of vessels forced to wait at sea before offloading their cargo, often hovering in unusual parts of the ocean.

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg was revealed last week to have been on two months’ paternal leave since August, during the period when the cargo crisis continued to worsen. President Joe Biden convened officials from the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports last week and announced an agreement to keep them open 24/7, assuming dock workers fill the shifts.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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