Crude Oil Leak in Orange County, California

Jason Fallo, Reporter

On October 2nd 2021, an oil spill was discovered off the coast of Huntington Beach, California. According to the City of Huntington Beach, the leak originated from a broken pipeline connected to Oil Platform Elly, an oil rig off the coast of Long Beach owned by Amplify Energy Corporation. Amplify Energy Corporation stated that upon discovering the spill, they notified the Coast Guard and initiated its “Oil Spill Prevention and Response Plan”. 

It is believed the spill was caused by an anchor-dragging incident back in January. According to the Los Angeles Sentinel Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Braden Rostad, Chief of Investigations in LA, a large shipping vessel known as the MSC Danit is thought to have dragged its anchor along the seafloor for an unknown distance. At some point the anchor may have gotten caught on the pipeline, damaging the concrete shielding and pulling the pipeline for more than one hundred feet.

Investigators are still searching for other possible causes of the leak but the operators of the vessel, the Mediterranean Shipping Company, and the owners of the vessel, the Dordelles Finance Corporation, are being designated as “parties of interest” in the leak and are given the opportunity to be represented by counsel, to “examine and cross-examine witnesses and to call relevant witnesses.”

The City of Huntington Beach released a message on Oct 10th stating that all beaches would be reopened on Monday Oct 11th after a water-quality test showed undetectable amounts of oil-associated toxins in the water.