Agencies hone in on container ship in pipeline spill investigation

The U.S. Coast Guard and the NTSB designated a container ship as a “party of interest”.

LONG BEACH, Calif. — The U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board boarded the container ship MSC DANIT, Saturday, in the Port of Long Beach, as investigators work to find the cause of an oil pipeline rupture.

More than 25,000 gallons of oil escaped from an underwater pipeline that runs between platforms off the coast of Southern California in early October.

As part of the joint investigation, the Coast Guard announced that a ship owned by the Mediterranean Shipping Company is thought been involved in an anchor-dragging incident on January 25, near where the pipeline rupture was subsequently discovered in October.

Coast Guard investigators are working on the belief that a large ship’s anchor moved and weakened the pipeline well before additional stress caused the pipeline to fracture.

Officials say they are giving the owner and operator of the MSC DANIT the chance to examine and cross-examine potential witnesses as part of the inquiry.

The federal investigation into the incident remains ongoing, and the Coast Guard said they have not ruled out other vessels.