The Chinese authorities have been concentrating efforts to clean the contamination from Iranian Suezmax tanker Sanchi, which sank in the East China Sea leaving three oil slicks covering a combined surface area of 332 km².
China’s maritime search and rescue centre has sent teams of salvage vessels, clean-up vessels, divers, and robot submarines to the casualty site to contain the oil slick and contamination.
A combined area of 87.3 km² oil slick have been cleaned in 62 salvage and clean-up operation so far, China’s Ministry of Transport (MOT) said on Monday.
The China’s MOT has not confirmed that the vessel is leaking bunker fuel.
Sanchi is currently laid 115 m underwater. The Iranian tanker collided with Hong Kong-registered bulk carrier CF Crystal about 300 km east of Shanghai on 6 January.
China’s maritime search and rescue centre said it had sent robot submarines over the weekend to salvage the oil tanker wreck. A robot has located the point of impact near number 2 and number 3 cargo holds – a triangle-shaped hole stretching 35 m.
Clean-up efforts and underwater work have been hampered by strong wind and high seas at the casualty site.
A statement from China’s maritime search and rescue centre said in a statement on Tuesday that, a Force 8 gale and a swell of 2.5–3.5 m “brought challenges and add some difficulties to our clean-up and underwater work.”
China’s State Oceanic Administration said on Sunday that three slicks of different sizes covering a combined area of 332 km² had been found via satellite detection. This is three times larger than the 100 km² spill found on 17 January.