Oil spill: Coast Guard investigating whether ship anchored at wrong location

Investigators looking into the case of a massive oil spill off the coast of Virginia have focused on a commercial ship that may have anchored at the wrong location, dragging a pipeline as much as 150 feet.


National News

October 5, 2021 - 10:05 AM

A dead fish at the mouth of the Santa Ana River, where sand berms and oil booms are in place to contain an oil spill in Huntington Beach Monday morning, Oct. 4, 2021. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/TNS) Photo by Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times / TNS

LOS ANGELES — The Coast Guard is investigating whether a large commercial ship set anchor in the wrong location, damaging an oil pipeline and causing a spill that threatens Laguna Beach, Newport Beach and other Orange County coastal cities, an official familiar with the investigation said Monday.

The pipeline was dragged as much as 150 feet by the anchor, the official said. Vessels are given anchor points to ensure pipelines are avoided. Coast Guard investigators are examining whether the ship’s captain was aware of the dragging.

Earlier Monday, Martyn Willsher, president and chief executive of the pipeline operator’s parent company, said that a ship’s anchor striking the pipeline was “one of the distinct possibilities” for the spill.

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