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Investigators from the U.S. Coast Guard boarded a cargo vessel Saturday in Long Beach that could be tied to the rupture of a pipeline that spilled an estimated 25,000 gallons of oil off the Orange County coast, the agency said.

Braden Rostad, chief of investigations for Los Angeles-Long Beach, determined that the MSC DANIT, a large container ship, was involved in a Jan. 25 anchor-dragging incident during heavy weather at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

The anchor-dragging occurred near a pipeline that runs from an oil platform to the port of Long Beach. That pipeline was subsequently discovered to be the source of the Orange County oil spill on Oct. 2, the statement said. An oil sheen was first spotted that evening by a vessel 4½ miles off Huntington Beach and then detected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The pipeline was intact in October 2020 when the company that operates it last did an inspection, and the marine growth visible around the displaced section of the pipeline indicates the anchor drag likely was not recent, said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jason Neubauer.

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