Sanchi oil spill has widened

Oil slick from Sanchi has widened dramatically. Credit: CCTV
Oil slick from Sanchi has widened dramatically. Credit: CCTV

The oil slicks from Iranian Suezmax Sanchi, which sank in the East China Sea on 14 January, has increased in size.

China’s State Oceanic Administration said three slicks of different sizes covering a combined area of 332 km² had been found on the satellite, compared with the slick of 100 km² from the last report.

The administration said the oil spill from Sanchi was spreading rapidly and growing in size.

“There have been three oil slick of different sizes at the sinking spot. Satellite imaging showed the largest one covering an area of 310 km², and the smallest approximately 1 km² slick, which is less thick and not concentrated,” China’s State Oceanic Administration said in a statement on 22 January.

China’s State Oceanic Administration said its environmental experts had taken 31 water samples from the sinking spot or nearby to the lab, and that most samples contained the high concentration of petroleum with heavy oil smells. The study has found that the worst sample contained petroleum that exceeds 1,261 μg/L.

The State Oceanic Administration also said it was concerined about the possibility of bunker fuel leaking into the sea. Heavy fuel oil used for powering the ship’s engine is harder to remove and evaporate than the condensate fuel or ultra-light crude oil being shipped at the time of the collision.

2008-built Sanchi was carrying 136,000 tonnes of ultra-light crude oil from Assaluyeh, Iran, to Daesan, South Korea, when it collided with CF Crystal on 6 January at about 8pm in the East China Sea and sank on 14 January.

The vessel’s crew of 30 Iranians and 2 Bangladeshis are all believed to have been killed in the incident.