Sanchi oil tanker collision

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Sanchi oil tanker collision
Sanchi oil tanker collision is located in Ryukyu Islands
Collision
Collision
Shanghai
Shanghai
Sinking
Sinking
Okinawa
Okinawa
Approximate locations of the collision and sinking in the East China Sea
Date6 January 2018
Time20:00 CST (UTC+08:00)
LocationEast China Sea, 160 nmi (300 km) east of Shanghai
Coordinates28°22′00″N 125°55′00″E / 28.3667°N 125.9167°E / 28.3667; 125.9167Coordinates: 28°22′00″N 125°55′00″E / 28.3667°N 125.9167°E / 28.3667; 125.9167
CauseCollision
Participants53 crew
(32 on Sanchi and 21 on CF Crystal)
Death(s)32 (all on Sanchi)

The Sanchi oil tanker collision occurred on 6 January 2018 when the Panamanian-flagged, Iranian-owned tanker Sanchi, with a full natural-gas condensate cargo of 136,000 tonnes (960,000 barrels), sailing from Iran to South Korea, collided with the Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship CF Crystal 160 nautical miles (300 km) off Shanghai, China. Sanchi caught fire shortly after the collision; after burning and drifting for over a week, it sank on 14 January.[1]

None of Sanchi's 32 crew members survived.[1]

The crew of the CF Crystal was rescued and the ship made port in China. The financial damage of the sinking of Sanchi, based on NIOC estimates, is around USD 110 million: USD 60 million for the cargo and US$50 million for the vessel itself.

Collision[edit]

On the evening of 6 January 2018, at about 8 pm China time CST, the tanker Sanchi, which was carrying a full cargo of 136,000 metric tons (960,000 barrels) of South Pars natural-gas condensate for South Korean petrochemicals company Hanwha Total, on its north bound passage from Asaluyeh port, Iran, to Daesan, in South Korea, collided with the Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship CF Crystal in the East China Sea, 160 nautical miles (300 km) off Shanghai, China, and caught fire.[2][3][4] Natural-gas condensate, often shortened to "condensate", is a highly flammable type of ultra-light crude oil.[5][6]

Sanchi was a double-hulled Suezmax crude oil tanker, with an overall length of 274.18 metres (899 ft 6 in), a gross tonnage of 85,462, and deadweight tonnage of 164,154 tonnes (180,949 short tons).[7] The tanker was built in 2008 by Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries at Yeongam, South Korea, for the National Iranian Tanker Company.[7]

The other ship involved in the collision, CF Crystal, was a bulk carrier on a voyage from Kalama, Washington, U.S., to Machong, Guangdong Province, China, with 64,000 tonnes (71,000 short tons) of grain.[3][8] The ship was built in 2011 by the Chengxi Shipyard Co Ltd, Jiangyin, China, for the current owner Changhong Group (HK) Ltd, Hong Kong, and is managed by Shanghai CP International Ship Management & Broker Co Ltd, Shanghai.[9] The ship is a Panamax bulk carrier, with gross tonnage of 41,073, and a deadweight tonnage of 71,725 tonnes (79,063 short tons).[9] Following the collision, the full Chinese crew of 21 was rescued.[3][4] CF Crystal was brought into port at Zhoushan on 10 January.[10]

Aftermath and sinking[edit]

The South Korea Maritime Police Agency and the United States Navy assisted Chinese authorities in firefighting and the search for the missing crew of Sanchi, which continued despite the risk of the tanker exploding.[5][11] The body of one crew member was recovered on 8 January.[12] Part of the tanker was reported to have exploded on 10 January.[12] The South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said that the fire could burn for up to four weeks.[13]

On 12 January 2018, the Japan Coast Guard in Kagoshima reported that Sanchi had drifted into the Japanese Economic Zone on the afternoon of 10 January. Its position on the afternoon of 11 January was given by the same source as "300 kilometres (186 mi) northwest of Amami Ōshima island."[14]

On 13 January, a Chinese rescue team recovered two bodies from a lifeboat aboard Sanchi and salvaged the voyage data recorder from the bridge. The four-person salvage team, although equipped with respirators, were forced off the vessel less than half an hour after boarding because the wind had shifted and toxic smoke had complicated the operation.[15][16]

At 4:45 pm on 14 January, the tanker sank, leaving no survivors from the crew of 30 Iranian and two Bangladeshi seafarers.[16][17] The chief of Iran's maritime agency told the Associated Press, "There is no hope of finding survivors."[18]

On 17 January, China's Ministry of Transportation announced that the wreck of Sanchi has been located at a depth of 115 metres (377 ft).[19]

Environmental impact[edit]

According to a report by Reuters,[20] because of the incident, a slick 13 kilometres (7.0 nmi) by 11 kilometres (5.9 nmi) in size was formed on the sea surface, which is being pushed toward Japan by wind, and efforts to contain it were begun by ships surrounding the spill. Condensate is a highly volatile, highly toxic material that is greatly harmful to the environment.[21] In addition to the slick on the water's surface, the sinking of the ship means that as the remaining condensate cargo and bunker oil – a heavier form of fuel oil – threaten the depths of the sea from the wreckage. An estimated 2,000 tonnes (2,200 short tons) of bunker oil is thought to have been in Sanchi's fuel storage tanks.[22]

An article by The New York Times discussed the environmental impact further, saying that the portion of the East China Sea in which the spill took place is a location of edible fish spawning at that particular time of the year, as well as a migration path of whales. The incident was compared in magnitude with the Exxon Valdez oil spill.[23]

Based on numerical simulations, National Oceanography Centre and University of Southampton researchers – who used Lagrangian particle tracking and hindcast circulation from a high-resolution global ocean general circulation model for the period 2006—2015 – produced a map of the potential contamination area and estimated that the pollution would reach Korean coasts within three months.[24] Using updated simulations based on the sinking location of the Sanchi, the same researchers subsequently estimated that contamination could reach Japan within one month, due to the close proximity of the strong Kuroshio Current.[25] Further updates, based on the suspected, but unconfirmed, arrival of Sanchi oil at the island of Amami Ōshima,[26] projected the contamination may reach the Ryukyu Island chain and potentially affect coral reefs there.[27] However, ocean circulation models used by China's State Oceanic Administration in Qingdao showed a different path for the contamination, one that would instead bypass the coastal waters of Japan.[28]

The New York Times asserts that the environmental damage, including possible contamination of beaches, as well as the damage to the fishing industry, may be significant, and will be paid for by the involved parties and their insurers.[29]

A report by CNN stated that the slick has grown in size to over 100 square kilometres (40 sq mi) by 19 January.[30]

The volatile nature of the condensate makes the environmental impact of it different compared with crude oil spills. A report by Nature stated that because of this difference, perhaps the more important aspect of this spill is the immediate toxic effect of it on the marine inhabitants, with less concern about deposition of condensate on sediments or polluting beaches.[28]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Madrigal, Alexis (19 January 2018). "The World has never seen an Oil Spill like this". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 19 January 2018.
  2. ^ Bland, Ben (8 January 2018). "Rescuers battle toxic oil blaze off China coast". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 17 January 2018. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Xiaolin, Zeng (7 January 2018). "NITC tanker explodes in collision, 32 missing". Fairplay. IHS Markit Maritime. Archived from the original on 17 January 2018. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  4. ^ a b Tang, Irene (8 January 2018). "Analysis: South Korea may seek prompt naphtha after condensate cargo collision". S&P Global Platts. Archived from the original on 9 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Sanchi: Burning tanker off Chinese coast 'in danger of exploding'". BBC News Online. Archived from the original on 8 January 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  6. ^ "Iranian oil tanker sinks after burning for more than one week". The Telegraph. London. 14 January 2018. Archived from the original on 14 January 2018. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Sanchi (27100)". DNV GL Vessel Register. Det Norske Veritas. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  8. ^ Shih, Gerry (8 January 2018). "Oil tanker burning off China's coast at risk of exploding". The Columbian. Vancouver, WA, USA. Archived from the original on 8 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  9. ^ a b "CF Crystal". ABS Record. American Bureau of Shipping. Archived from the original on 11 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  10. ^ Rescuers resume search for survivors from blazing Iran oil tanker Archived 15 January 2018 at the Wayback Machine, Reuters, 11 January 2018
  11. ^ "Update 2: Body of One Missing Mariner Found as Fears of Tanker Exploding Heat Up". World Maritime News. Archived from the original on 8 January 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  12. ^ a b Fang, Nanlin; Dewan, Angela (10 January 2018). "Oil tanker Sanchi partially explodes in East China Sea". CNN. Archived from the original on 10 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Report: Explosion Reported on board Stricken Iranian Tanker". World Maritime News. Archived from the original on 10 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Stricken Iranian oil tanker drifts into Japan's economic zone: coast guard". Samaa TV. 12 January 2018. Archived from the original on 12 January 2018. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  15. ^ "Chinese salvagers recover two bodies from flaming Iranian tanker". Reuters. Archived from the original on 13 January 2018. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  16. ^ a b "Burning oil tanker 'sinks off China'". BBC News. 14 January 2018. Archived from the original on 14 January 2018. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  17. ^ "Burning Oil Tanker Sanchi Sinks off China". World Maritime News. Archived from the original on 14 January 2018. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  18. ^ Hernández, Javier C. (8 January 2018). "Hope Fades for Missing Crew Members as Iranian Oil Tanker Sinks". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 15 January 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  19. ^ China detects position of sunken oil tanker Sanchi Archived 17 January 2018 at the Wayback Machine. XINHUANET.com, 17 January 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  20. ^ "Stricken tanker leaves large oil slick in the East China Sea". Reuters. 15 January 2018. Archived from the original on 15 January 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  21. ^ Jean-Michel Gradt (15 January 2018). "Marée Noire Historique en Mer de Chine". lesechos.fr (in French). Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  22. ^ "Sanchi Sinking: Bunker Spill Fears Compound Worst Oil Ship Disaster in Decades - Ship & Bunker". 16 January 2018. Archived from the original on 16 January 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  23. ^ Mullany, Gerry (2018). "Huge Oil Tanker Spill in East China Sea Stirs Environmental Fears". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 16 January 2018. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  24. ^ "Sanchi oil spill contamination could take three months to reach mainland". National Oceanography Centre. 12 January 2018. Archived from the original on 16 January 2018. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  25. ^ "Sanchi oil spill contamination could reach Japan within a month (update) | National Oceanography Centre". noc.ac.uk. 16 January 2018. Archived from the original on 17 January 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  26. ^ "Oil from sunken Iranian tanker may have reached Japan shores -Coast Guard". Reuters. 2 February 2018. Archived from the original on 8 February 2018. Retrieved 8 February 2018. Black clumps have reached the shores of the island of Amami-Oshima, a coast guard official told Reuters by phone.
  27. ^ "Coral reefs may be at risk from Sanchi oil tanker contamination". National Oceanography Centre. 6 February 2018. Archived from the original on 9 February 2018. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  28. ^ a b Carswell, Cally (24 January 2018). "Unique oil spill in East China Sea frustrates scientists". doi:10.1038/d41586-018-00976-9. Archived from the original on 2 February 2018. Retrieved 28 January 2018. But the Chinese models indicate that they are unlikely to intrude on Japanese shores at all.
  29. ^ Reuters (2018). "China Oil Spill Compensation Claims Face Iran Payment Snags". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 19 January 2018. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  30. ^ CNN, Euan McKirdy and Nanlin Fang,. "Oil spill off China coast now the size of Paris". CNN. Archived from the original on 18 January 2018. Retrieved 19 January 2018.

External links[edit]