A ship’s anchor that “snagged and dragged” a petroleum pipeline from an offshore oil drilling platform near Huntington Beach may be the cause of the massive oil spill that’s closed – or restricted access to – several Orange County shorelines.
Such an anchor could have caused a rip that split the pipe open. Divers from the U.S. Coast Guard located a 13-inch gap that eventually spewed over 126,000 gallons of oil that created a six-mile long slick.
Federal regulators said Tuesday that Amplify Energy Corporation, which operates the pipeline, did not shut it down until three hours after a “low pressure” alarm that could signal a breach in the pipeline at 2:30 a.m. Saturday.
The Coast Guard has come under some criticism for waiting until daylight on Saturday to act on reports of a “sheen” on the water Friday afternoon. The initial reports were “inconclusive,” replied the Guard in a statement, saying that such alerts are common and minor.
In addition to Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and Crystal Cove State Beach’s have been closed, and Newport Beach has shut down its harbor. There have also been reports of oil at Dana Point.
Estimates of how long the beaches will be closed range from weeks to months as the cleanup continues.
On Monday evening, the Huntington Beach City Council voted 5-0 (with Councilmembers Erik Peterson and Mike Posey absent) to adopt a resolution declaring an emergency.
Categories: Huntington Beach