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Case: American Trader, CA

Date of incident: February 7, 1990.

Location: Offshore, Huntington Beach, California.


Case status: Settled in 1997. Under restoration.

Overview: On February 7, 1990, the steam tanker American Trader spilled approximately 400,000 gallons of Alaska North Slope crude oil into the Pacific Ocean off of Huntington Beach, California. The vessel's anchor punctured two holes in the starboard cargo tank due to a combination of ocean swells and inadequate water depth during an attempted mooring at the sea berth.

At the time, the vessel was lightering a cargo of Alaska North Slope crude oil from the Keystone Canyon, a very large crude carrier anchored in Long Beach, California, to several locations along the southern California coast, including the Golden West terminal at Huntington Beach. The oil affected 60 square miles of ocean and washed ashore along approximately 14 miles of beaches, affecting seabirds and recreational use of beaches.

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