Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Sad Tale as Burning Iranian Tanker Finally Sinks After Being Rent by Explosion

Death Toll Expected to Rise as Only 3 Bodies from 32 Crew Recovered
Shipping News Feature
CHINA – The Iranian operated Suezmax tanker that had been burning at sea and which we reported on last week, finally sank in the East China Sea over the weekend. Carrying around 136,000 tonnes of ultra-light gas condensate, authorities in China say that at about noon local time on Sunday 14 January, a large explosion occurred on board the afflicted vessel Sanchi, causing the fire to break out, sending plumes of black smoke with flames reaching up to a height of 200 metres. By about 15:00 local time, the tanker had fully sunk and as a result, a large amount of oil was burning on the surrounding surface.

On January 6, the Panamanian flagged vessel had been en route from Iran to Korea when she collided with the bulk grain carrier CF Crystal, which was laden with 64,000 tonnes of grain en route from the US to China, approximately 160 nautical miles east of Shanghai. To date three bodies of the 32 crewmembers of the Sanchi have so far been recovered, with the remaining crew believed to have perished. The crew had consisted of 30 Iranian nationals and 2 Bangladeshis. The 21 crewmembers of the CF Crystal had previously been reported safe.

Rescue workers managed to board the ship on Saturday 13 January and retrieve the Voyage Data Recorder equipment before leaving quickly due to toxic smoke and high temperatures. Concerns remain over the vessel’s bunker fuel which, unlike the gas condensate carried as cargo which tends to evaporate or burn off, has pollution implications for the area concerned.

Photo: Courtesy of China’s Ministry of Transport.