Sanchi Spawns Four Oil Slicks the Size of Paris

Chinese maritime authorities have detected four oil slicks at the site of the Sanchi wreck encompassing a total of 101 square miles.

Data from satellite imagery shows that the smallest slick was about 5.5 km2 while the biggest one covered an area of 48 km2, China’s State Oceanic Administration said.

Monitoring activities at the site continue and the agency said it was collecting water samples from the site for inspection purposes.

Two new oil-spill vessels have been dispatched to the scene to ramp up the cleaning efforts.

Activites on sending underwater robots to inspect the wreck are underway, Chinese Ministry of Transport said.

The exact location of the wreck has been determined, according to the ministry, and the vessel lies at a depth of around 115 meters.

According to Greenpeace experts from East Asia and Japan, the explosion and sinking of the Sanchi occurred in an important spawning ground for many commercial species such as the bluefin leatherjacket and the swordtip squid. The area is also on the migratory pathway of many marine mammals, such as humpback whale, right whale and gray whale.

The Iranian tanker was carrying 136,000 tons of condensate oil when it sank on January 14, some 530 km from Shanghai and 310 km from Naha, Japan.

The hope of finding any survivors of Sanchi’s 32 crew members has diminished, according to Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO).

Three bodies have been recovered from the vessel and are yet to be identified.

World Maritime News Staff

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