Cleanup underway after Sanchi collision

Updated 2018-02-02 11:41:02 China Daily

China is making plans to retrieve or remove oil carried by the sunken tanker Sanchi and is working with relevant parties to investigate the accident, according to the Ministry of Transport.

The ministry said in a statement distributed at a Beijing news conference Thursday in addition to condensate oil, the ship's cargo, the Iranian vessel also had nearly 1,900 metric tons of bunker fuel when it sank Jan 14.

The ministry has sent remotely operated underwater robots to inspect the wreckage and findings of the inspection are being considered as engineers make plans to clean the condensate oil and fuel, the statement said.

The Panama-registered Sanchi, which was owned by an Iranian company and carried 136,000 tons of highly flammable condensate oil or natural gas liquids, collided with a Hong Kong freighter, CR Crystal, on Jan 6 some 160 nautical miles east of Shanghai and burst into flames.

On Jan 14, the ship exploded and sank. A large amount of the spilled condensate burned on the sea's surface and the fire lasted one day.

An agreement on the joint investigation was signed by maritime authorities in the Chinese mainland, Iran, Panama and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Jan 25. The investigation team has gone to Zhoushan of Zhejiang province to check CR Crystal and the sailing recorder of Sanchi, according to the statement.

Currently, five Chinese ships, one South Korean ship and one Japanese ship are cleaning the polluted waters on the scene. By the end of Tuesday, more than 770 square kilometers of affected waters had been restored.

The ministry also said the safety of aquatic products in the East China Sea and the air quality of coastal regions like Shanghai and Zhejiang have not been affected by the accident.

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