15th January 2018
The Panama-registered tanker, Sanchi sank on Sunday after an explosion rocked it sending flames shooting skyward. The Sanchi had been ablaze for a week after it collided with CF Crystal with rough weather, toxic smoke and explosions hampering rescue efforts.
Iranian and Chinese media have reported that there are no survivors and that three bodies have been recovered over the week though there has been no official word yet from the Chinese or the Iranian government regarding survivors.
13th January 2018
Rescuers board the Sanchi: 2 bodies found
Rescue attempts in the last day or two were hampered by explosions onboard the Sanchi beating back the rescue teams. Today, Jan 13, at 0837 hrs Beijing time, a team of four Chinese rescuers boarded the tanker Sanchi. They’d been lifted to the stern deck by a crane of one of the rescue vessels. Once onboard, they discovered the bodies of two crewmembers on the lifeboat deck.
Media outlets are reporting that the rescue team recovered the ship’s “black box” recording unit from the bridge. One can only assume that they are referring to the VDR unit of the ship.
The rescue team was unable to progress further into the superstructure because of high temperatures in the accommodation areas and the toxic smoke hampering their progress. At 0903 hrs they returned to the rescue vessel taking the bodies of the two crewmembers with them. Weather conditions have been unfavourable with the wind in the area reaching speeds of 10m/s and waves reaching heights of 4 m.
So far, the bodies of only three of the 32 crewmen have been recovered.
10th January 2018
The Sanchi continues to burn unabated four days after colling with the CF Crystal.
Chinese officials have told the media that the Sanchi is in danger of exploding and sinking.
Rescuers trying to reach the burning tanker were beaten back by toxic clouds, the transport ministry says.
The body of one crewman, among the 30 Iranians and 2 Bangladeshis onboard, has been found. The rest are missing.
The tanker, run by Iran’s leading oil shipping operator, has onboard 136,000 tonnes of condensate, which is an ultra-light version of crude oil. That is about one million barrels and worth roughly $60m.The Sanchi will also be carrying a certain amount of heavy – and toxic- shipping fuel.
Condensate is very different from the black crude that is often seen in oil spills. It exists in gas form within high-pressure oil reservoir and liquefies once extracted. It is highly toxic, low in density and considerably more explosive than regular crude oil. Condensate, which does not need the heavy refining process of denser crude, creates products such as jet fuel, petrol, diesel and heating fuel. It is much lighter in colour and odour than heavy crudes, potentially making it a lot harder to detect and contain. It cannot be picked off the surface like heavy crude.
Currently, the best hope is to put out the fire and stop the ship from sinking as if it does sink, it will slowly release the condensate which could contaminate the fishing zone in that area for a very long time.
Source: BBC News