Investigators are still searching for the large vessel(s) that struck an offshore pipeline miles from the coast of Orange County, California, creating one of the state's worst oil spills in three decades. It turns out, the Rotterdam Express, a German-flagged container ship measuring 1,000 feet long, which was initially believed to be the vessel behind the spill, didn't drag its anchor on the seabed and puncture the pipeline because new evidence suggests damage to the line may have been caused several months to a year ago, according to ABC News.
So far, the Coast Guard's office of investigation and analysis have narrowed their search down to an anchor from a massive vessel as the likely cause of Amplify Energy's pipeline rupture that has devastated the Huntington Beach area. In total, estimates show at least 25,000 gallons to 132,000 gallons leaked from the pipeline.
Coast Guard Capt. Jason Neubauer said a large vessel's anchor might have struck the undersea pipeline, shattering the concrete protective casing but not necessarily causing the crack, which began to spew crude last weekend.
Coast Guard investigators broadened their time horizons based on observations of marine growth around the fractured line area, which suggested the timing of the incident was months before the spill.
Neubauer said the pipeline was intact last October, and there's the possibility of multiple anchor strikes from unknown vessels.
"We're going to be looking at every vessel movement over that pipeline, and every close encroachment from the anchor just for the entire course of the year," he said.
Amplify's CEO Martyn Willsher noted Tuesday that divers determined that 4,000-feet of the pipeline was dislodged 105 feet from its original spot.
Meanwhile, investigators are still hunting for the vessel(s) responsible for the pipeline accident. More than 4,000 vessels traverse the waterways around the pipeline to unload and load cargo at the Long Beach-Los Angeles port complex.
Questions remain about future fines from the spill and whether the market has been too aggressive to discount Amplify shares.
Only time will tell but the "BTFD" crowd has already shown up.