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MSC and Costamare settle with Amplify insurers over California oil spill

13 Apr 2023

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company on Wednesday (12 April) said it has entered into a settlement agreement with the subrogated insurers of Amplify Energy Corp related to the 2021 Orange County oil spill incident. 

“The settlement amount will be jointly funded by MSC and Costamare without admission of responsibility or liability for the environmental damage that took place due to Amplify’s negligent management of their underwater pipeline,” it said in a statement. 

However, MSC maintained that Amplify is “solely responsible for events that led up to the oil spill and that their actions further worsened the pollution substantially”. 

“MSC agreed to this settlement to move forward productively, and we hope this regrettable incident will encourage Amplify to recognize its responsibility as a marine operator in the waters of California,” it said. 

The firm said Amplify pleaded guilty to criminal negligence for their role in the oil spill. 

“Amplify failed to act as a responsible marine operator by not taking reasonable preventative steps to better protect its pipeline and detect deficiencies within its pipeline despite becoming aware of them for months prior to the spill. For these reasons a preventable pollution event occurred which negatively impacted San Pedro Bay,” it added. 

According to the U.S. Justice Department on 26 August 2022, Houston-based Amplify Energy Corp. and its wholly-owned subsidiaries Beta Operating Co. LLC and San Pedro Bay Pipeline Co. agreed to plead guilty to violating the federal Clean Water Act, pay a USD 7.1 million criminal fine, and compensate federal programs approximately USD 5.8 million in connection with the discharge of approximately 25,000 gallons of crude oil during an offshore leak in the 17-mile-long San Pedro Bay Pipeline. 

In March 2022, it was reported Amplify Energy sued MSC and Costamare claiming gross negligence, liability, and failure to notify the company after their ships dragged their anchors damaging the pipeline nine months before the leak. Marine Exchange of Southern California, which manages traffic in the area was also named in the suit, claiming it failed to direct the ships to deeper waters. 


Photo credit: MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company
Published: 13 April, 2023

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