MSC has confirmed it has accepted a proposal to jointly fund a settlement with claimants relating to the 2021 Orange County pipeline oil spill.

According to the company’s statement, additional terms of a formal settlement are still being negotiated and once reached will have to be approved by the Court.

Although MSC agreed to jointly fund a settlement for the claimants, the company said that it “looks forward to demonstrating in the continuing legal proceedings that the responsibility for the 2021 oil spill remains the responsibility of Amplify, the pipeline owner, who already has plead guilty to criminal negligence for the oil spill.”

The Swiss/Italian box carrier pointed out that experts have determined that the 13,200 TEU container ship MSC Danit maneuvered “in a reasonable and prudent manner despite adverse weather and intense marine traffic in January 2021”, when it is believed that the pipeline was first damaged.

Moreover, the vessel took appropriate actions while at anchor and maintained constant communication with the US Coast Guard and port authorities off the coast of California, according to MSC’s announcement.

The company noted that its investigation has revealed that the pipeline did not comply with its original permit to be built sufficiently away from the federal anchorage zone in which MSC Danit and other ships were anchored, and that the negligent conduct of Amplify Energy including its repeated failure to take preventative steps to better protect its pipeline and detect latent damage was the true cause of the oil spill.

“Despite becoming aware of increased marine traffic and activity near its pipeline past 2020, Amplify took no measures to mitigate the risk to their pipeline before, during or after January 2021, all of which led to an unnecessary pollution event in Southern California waters and beaches,” stated MSC, adding that “these facts compelled Amplify to pled guilty to federal and state criminal charges for its discharge of the oil caused by its failure to properly detect and respond to the oil spill.”

Source : Container News