USCG, NTSB Investigating 2nd Vessel in OC Oil Spill

Orange County shoreline cleanup
Orange County shoreline cleanup
Members from the Orange County shoreline cleanup conduct cleanup operations on Talbert Marsh, California, Oct. 7, 2021. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Janessa Warschkow.

The U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating a second vessel that may be linked to a massive oil spill that leaked thousands of gallons of crude Oct. 2 and temporarily closed Orange County beaches.

Investigators on Thursday boarded the vessel BEIJING in the Port of Long Beach after Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Braden Rostad, chief of investigations for Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach, found that the vessel was part of an anchor-dragging incident from severe weather Jan. 25 and was in the vicinity of the pipeline found to be the leak source.

The Coast Guard has named the vessel’s operator, V.Ships Greece Ltd., and the vessel’s owner, Capetanissa Maritime Corporation of Liberia, as “parties in interest to the marine casualty investigation.”

As a “party in interest,” they are given the chance to have counsel representation, the ability to examine and cross-examine witnesses, and to call relevant witnesses, according to the Coast Guard.

On Oct. 15, the Coast Guard named MSC Danit operator MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, S.A., and vessel owner Dordellas Finance Corporation as parties of interest.

The investigation is ongoing, according to USCG, adding that they continue to look into “multiple pipeline scenarios and additional vessels of interest.”

By Karen Robes Meeks