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Oil Spill, Lost Containers and a Burning Ship

A few weeks ago we reported on an oil spill as the result of a broken pipeline in Southern California. Now we’re watching a ship that lost 40 containers from its deck and then caught fire. What is going on?

Approximately two weeks after being alerted to an oil spill off Long Beach in early October, the US Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) marine casualty investigators boarded the container ship MSC Danit Saturday, in the Port of Long Beach. According to the USCG media release. “[T]he DANIT was involved in a January 25, 2021, anchor-dragging incident during a heavy weather event that impacted the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The anchor-dragging incident occurred in close proximity to a subsea pipeline, which was subsequently discovered to be the source of the Orange County oil spill on October 2, 2021.”

This is one situation in which tracking the movements of ships across the globe has a longer-lasting impact than simply being able to immediately locate a given vessel. The tracking image, as illustrated on SkyTruth’s Twitter page, shows the Danit repeatedly crossed over the area in which the pipeline damage occurred.

According to a report on G-Captain, divers and OV footage confirmed a 4,000-foot stretch of the San Pedro Bay Pipeline had been displaced by 105 feet. Within that section a 13-inch gash was discovered and identified as the probable source of the oil spill.

As a result, of these findings, “the Coast Guard designated the MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, the operator of the vessel, and Dordellas Finance Corporation, the owner of the vessel, as parties in interest to the marine casualty investigation.

“The ‘party in interest’ designations provide the owner and operator of the MSC DANIT the opportunity to be represented by counsel, to examine and cross-examine witnesses, and to call witnesses who are relevant to the investigation.”

The Coast Guard is continuing its investigation into the Orange County oil pipeline major marine casualty, with pipeline scenarios and additional vessels of interest continuing to be investigated.

The latest environmental issue facing the West Coast is the Zim Kingston — a container ship off the coast of Victoria, British Columbia, which has been battling an onboard fire just a day after losing 40 containers into the ocean during high winds in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The fire broke out in 10 shipping containers, at least two of which are believed to contain hazardous materials. The following images are taken from the Canadian coast guard’s Twitter page.

The most recent report from the Canadian coast guard says, “The containers continue to smolder and boundary cooling — spraying water on the hull and on containers near the fire — continues. There are currently no impacts to human health for residents of Greater Victoria but Incident Command continues to monitor the situation.”

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