Investigation Continues Into SoCal Oil Spill

Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew
Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew
Members of the Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew conduct cleanup operations in the vicinity of Huntington Beach, California, Oct. 7, 2021. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Janessa Warschkow.

Officials with the U.S. Coast Guard and agency partners on Thursday continued to look into what caused a pipeline fracture that led to a massive oil spill that could have leaked as much as 131,000 gallons of crude into Orange County waters.

The incident, referred to as the Pipeline P00547 Spill, is considered a Major Marine Casualty because it may have involved a vessel and may have caused more than $500,000 in damages.

Earlier this week, media outlets reported that a ship’s anchor might have ruptured the pipe.

Agencies also involved in the investigation include the National Transportation Safety Board, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Investigators will work to determine various issues, including the cause, any instance of “misconduct, incompetence, negligence, unskillfulness, or willful violation of the law” and whether laws are needed or changed to prevent further casualties, according to USCG.

Meanwhile, crews continued cleanup efforts along Orange County beaches and more oiled wildlife are being recovered or found dead. The Los Angeles Times reported that “small amounts” of oil and tar have washed up in South San Diego County but it was yet to be determined Thursday whether it was related to the recent oil spill.

Anyone with information about the incident should contact the NTSB at

By Karen Robes Meeks