Burning Tanker Left a Huge Oil Spill in China

By Faith Magbanua, January 20, 2018 02:01 AM


Following the news this Monday, January 15, 2018, Chinese ships have been racing to clean up the massive oil spill after an Iranian tanker sank in the East China Sea.

The oil spill is said to be 120 sq km (46 sq mile) oil slick and is thought to be made up of heavy fuel that was used to power the vessel.

The tanker has been carrying 136,000 tonnes of ultra-light crude oil from Iran, which can generate a toxic underwater slick that would be invisible from the surface.

Furthermore, both the fuel and the ultra-light oil could cause devastating damage to marine life.

The Sanchi and another cargo ship collided 260km (160 miles) off Shanghai on January 6, with the tanker then drifting south-east towards Japan.

It caught fire after the collision and burnt for more than a week before sinking off China's east coast.

The Sanchi oil tanker sank on Sunday, January 14, 2018 and after more than a week, the tanker finally sunk. According the Iranian officials, all 32 crew members - 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis - on the tanker were killed.

On Monday, China Central Television said a search and rescue operation had been cancelled and a clean-up operation had begun after a fire on the surface was extinguished.

According to a news correspondent Robin Brant, "The oil slick has more than doubled in size since Sunday. A big concern now is for the environmental impact", he said. "There could also be a very tall plume of condensate, this ultra-refined form of oil, underneath the surface."

On Saturday, salvage workers boarded the vessel and found the bodies of two crew members in a lifeboat and only one other body had been found during the week of salvage operations.

The rescue workers also retrieved the ship's black box but had to leave quickly because of the toxic smoke and high temperatures in the ship.

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