Divers investigating a massive oil spill off the coast of Southern California confirmed on Tuesday that a 4,000-foot section of pipeline had dragged 105 feet out of place and detected a “crack” of 13 inches in line, according to a report.
The conditions confirmed by the divers had previously been detected by remotely operated vehicles deployed to inspect the 17.7-mile pipeline off Orange County, Bay Area FOX 2 reported.
The 13-inch split was the likely source of the recent spill, in which up to 144,000 gallons of oil escaped into the Pacific Ocean, fouling beaches in the area, according to the report.
SHIP ANCHOR INDICATED AS A POSSIBLE CAUSE OF OIL SPILL IN CALIFORNIA
The split occurred where the pipeline was most heavily displaced, 105 feet, and the damage suggests that great force caused the displacement and the resulting rupture, said Martyn Willsher, CEO of Amplify Energy, depending on the station.
Officials said they believed a ship’s anchor likely struck the pipeline. Several ships were in the area, the closest being about 450 meters away.
The pipeline is a 16-inch steel pipe covered with concrete, Willsher said.
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No more oil was leaking from the pipeline on Tuesday, Coast Guard Captain Rebecca Ore said, according to FOX 2.
On Monday evening, California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Orange County over the spill.
Fox News’ Kyle Morris contributed to this story.