More than 62 separate operations in Sanchi spill clean-up

China’s maritime search and rescue centre have been concentrating clean-up efforts. Credit: China's Ministry of Transport
China’s maritime search and rescue centre have been concentrating clean-up efforts. Credit: China's Ministry of Transport

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.