The Washington Post

Shippers to pay $97M to settle oil spill suit


Shipping companies will pay nearly $97 million to settle a lawsuit with a pipeline operator over a 2021 oil spill off the coast of Southern California, the pipeline company said Wednesday.

Amplify Energy, the Houstonbas­ed company that operates the pipeline, said in a statement that companies associated with the M/V Danit and M/V Beijing agreed to the payments. Amplify accused the vessels of dragging anchors in the waters off California and striking the pipeline during a January 2021 storm, which months later led to the spill of 25,000 gallons of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean.

Once the payments are made, Amplify said it would drop its claims against the shipping companies.

Messages seeking comment were sent to lawyers for the shipping companies.

While less severe than initially feared, the oil spill sent blobs of crude washing ashore, shuttered beaches for a week and fisheries for more than a month, oiled birds and threatened area wetlands.

Southern California fishermen, tourism companies and property owners sued Amplify and the shipping vessels seeking compensati­on for their losses. Amplify agreed to pay $50 million and the vessels agreed to pay $45 million to settle those lawsuits.

Amplify, which reached a plea deal with federal authoritie­s for negligentl­y dischargin­g crude, sued the vessels and the Marine Exchange, an organizati­on that helps oversee marine traffic.

The Marine Exchange has also agreed to a non-monetary settlement with Amplify.

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