OAKLAND (CBS SF) – The U.S. Coast Guard is reportedly investigating whether a freighter currently anchored in the Port of Oakland played a role in the massive oil spill that plagued southern California beaches.
According to the Associated Press, the Rotterdam Express, a German-flagged vessel, made three unusual movements in two days that appear to put it above the pipeline.
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Captain John Konrad, who publishes a website on the maritime and offshore industry, said many unanswered questions remained as they investigated whether the Rotterdam Express had something to do with the tide or not. black.
“Did he have the right graphics? Has the vessel traffic service notified him? Was it an old pipeline that may not have been properly mapped? These are the questions we need to ask ourselves, âKonrad said.
The ruptured pipeline could have spilled nearly 150,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean, according to the US Coast Guard.
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Skytruth, a nonprofit environmental organization that uses satellite technology to track incidents such as oil spills, said the Rotterdam Express had never approached within 1,500 feet of the line and that it was unlikely that the ship’s anchor was to blame.
Federal transportation investigators say a safeguard of cargo ships at California ports may also have played a role in the spill, as ships were forced to anchor off the coast due to overcrowding in the ports and berths.
Like Oakland, Southern California experiences heavy container ship traffic during the pandemic. Mark del Hierro, a longshoreman, told KPIX 5: âThere is no space to put the containers, there is a lack of equipment, not enough chassis. “
A spokesperson for Hapag Lloyd, which operates the Rotterdam Express, told the AP that the company is fully cooperating with the investigation. The company said the ship was in the area but was “quite far from the pipeline”.
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Andrea Nakano contributed to this report.