The burning wreck of an oil tanker is currently presenting a potential environmental disaster to the coast of southeast China.
The Sanchi, an oil tanker carrying 136,000 metric tonnes (almost 1 million barrels) of condensate product, collided with the freighter CF Crystal on Saturday resulting in a fire.
To compare, the Exxon Valdez spilled 260,000 barrels of crude oil into Prince William Sound off Alaska in 1989.
What lies ahead could be three scenarios, Babatunde Anifowose, a lecturer at the University of Coventry, told CNN.
Most of the condensate spill is expected to either evaporate or burn off if the Sanchi stays afloat, while clean-up operations will be difficult should the vessel sink.
An explosion could spread toxic fumes from the condensate into surround areas, resulting in a bunker spill as well.
To date, only one member of the 32-crew of Sanchi has been accounted for.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the seafarers still missing from the oil tanker Sanchi, following a reported collision off the coast of China. I send my deepest sympathies to all their families and loved ones,” said International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Kitack Lim on Monday.
“I would like to commend all those who have been involved in the international search and rescue operations so far and in the efforts to battle the fire and contain pollution from the ship.
“This is an ongoing situation which we are monitoring. IMO stands ready to offer any technical assistance that may be needed. In the longer term, it is expected that there will be a full investigation into this incident and that the results and findings will be brought to IMO so that we can do whatever may be necessary to reduce the chances of such an incident happening again."
Photo credit: IMO
Publication date: 9 January, 2018
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