MSC and COSCO sued over last year’s Californian pipeline spill

American pipeline owner Amplify Energy Corp is suing Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) and COSCO over a big oil spill off the Californian coastline last autumn.

The two liners are accused of dragging anchor over Amplify’s pipeline, causing damage. The pipeline, which was used to transfer crude oil from several offshore facilities to a processing plant in Long Beach, began leaking on the afternoon of October 1.

The federal court filing also accuses the Marine Exchange of Southern California of failing to route the two boxships – MSC Danit and COSCO Beijing – to deeper waters before an impending storm and failing to inform Amplify after the anchor-dragging incidents.

“It is entirely foreseeable that allowing massive container ships to remain anchored near a pipeline might, in the event of a storm, result in damage to that pipeline and subsequent harm to the environment,” Amplify wrote in its filing, adding more than 20 other vessels left anchorages outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to ride out the storm’s high winds and waves in deeper water.

Amplify faces a criminal charge for its oversight of the accident, accused of taking too long to react to the spill. About 25,000 gallons of crude oil were discharged from a point approximately 7 km west of Huntington Beach from a crack in the pipeline.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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