Published January 08, 2018

Oil Tanker Still On Fire Near Shanghai, Crew All Feared Dead

By Jordan Harris


32 people are feared dead after an oil tanker and cargo ship collided on Saturday night in the East China Sea, causing the tanker to burst into flames.


The Panama-registered "Sanchi" oil tanker was carrying 136,000 tons of Iranian oil and crewed by 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis who are presumed to have been killed on board the flaming ship. After over 36 hours since the crash, no survivors have been sighted by rescue ships.


The 21 members of the Chinese freighter's crew have all since been rescued, however poor weather conditions and huge plumes of toxic smoke billowing from the tanker have been hindering rescue efforts. 


As of the latest reports, the tanker is still ablaze and Chinese officials have warned that the vessel is in danger of exploding and sinking, potentially causing a huge environmental disaster.


The oil on board the ship is known as condensate, an ultra-light form of oil which in the event of an oil spill can be more dangerous for the environment than regular crude. 


"Condensate is more likely to evaporate and mix in with the water," John Driscoll of JTD Energy Services told the BBC. "It also can be colourless and odourless, so it is a lot harder to detect, contain and clean up."




The ship is about 165 nautical miles east of Shanghai. Several Chinese vessels have been sent to aid with rescue and clear up efforts along with help sent from South Korea and the US. It's unclear how big the extent of the oil spill and environmental damage is currently 


Related:  Ship Sinks Off Shanghai Coast, 10 Still Missing