FILE PHOTO: Container ships wait off the coast of the congested ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, in Long Beach, California, U.S., September 29, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Oil Sheen Reported Offshore Southern California, Near LA-LB Anchorages

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1769
December 17, 2021

A Unified Command is responding to an oil sheen in San Pedro Bay in the vicinity of the Los Angeles and Long Beach anchorages.

The sheen was first reported Wednesday evening approximately a half-mile offshore from Bolsa Chica State Beach, adjacent to Huntington Beach. The source of the spill is yet to be determined.

“On water responders observed a petroleum odor and collected samples that exhibited characteristics of a petroleum product which will be fingerprinted to help identify the source in the coming days,” the U.S. Coast Guard tweeted from its Southern California handle.

An update said oil spill response organization assets and beach cleanup crews have been mobilized and, as of Thursday morning, a USCG overflight observed some remnants of the sheen offshore, but there have been no shoreline impacts.

The Huntington Beach Police Department reported Thursday that the sheen measured approximately 20 yards by 150 yards.

Beach cleanup crews remain on standby and oil spill response vessels are on-water to recover any product. As of Thursday, the source of the spill was still unknown.

The location of the sheen also happens to be in the same general area of the damaged pipeline responsible for leaking thousands of gallons of oil into San Pedro Bay waters back in early October. Although the spill wasn’t reported until October 1st, investigators are looking at the likelihood that a ship dragged its anchor over the pipeline during a storm back on January 25, 2021 after an inspection discovered that the pipeline had been moved a little more than 100 feet across the seafloor and with a 13-inch gash. Investigators have identified two containerships, the MSC Danit and Beijing, as “parties in interest” in the initial anchor dragging.

The pipeline, which remains shut, is operated by Amplify Energy, which was charged this week with one misdemeanor count of negligent discharge of oil related to the pipeline leak. An update on Friday said mitigation measures for the pipeline “remain in place and are holding.”

As of Wednesday, there were 56 ships at anchor or loitering within 40 miles of the Los Angeles and Long Beach port complex, according to the Southern Marine Exchange of California. A storm on Tuesday sent all ships at anchor to sea for storm avoidance before returning.

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