The Panama-registered Sanchi tanker is seen ablaze in open waters, after colliding with a Chinese bulk ship, January 7, 2018. Korea Coast Guard/Yonhap via REUTERS
Photos and video taken in the aftermath of a collision involving two commercial vessels in the East China Sea on Saturday night show the extent of the maritime disaster still unfolding.
The Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier, CF Crystal, and Iranian-flagged MT Sanchi collided on January 6 approximately 160 nautical miles off the coast near Shanghai, causing the Sanchi to burst into flames.
All 32 crew members aboard the Sanchi are reported missing.
The tanker was underway from Iran to South Koren and laden with approximately 136,000 tonnes of light crude oil, equivalent to nearly 1 million barrels, when the collision occurred.
As of Monday rescue crews were continuing to fight the fire amid warnings that the tanker was at risk of exploding and sinking.
The bulk carrier, carrying 21 crew members, sustained relatively minor damage and all 21 crew members are reported safe.
An international search is ongoing for MV Sanchi’s 32 missing crew members.
The amateur video below filmed shortly after the incident shows the SANCHI fully engulfed in flames, at times reaching hundreds of feet high:
The 163,000 dwt MT Sanchi, built in 2008, is owned by Iranian tanker company NITC, which in recent years has been the subject of international sanctions against Iran. The incident marks the first major incident involving an Iranian tanker since sanctions were lifted in January 2016.
The 75,000 dwt CF Crystal was sailing from the U.S. port of Kalama in Washington State to China at the time of the incident. The vessel is being taken the port of Luhuashan, China, just south of Shanghai.
Exactly how much oil has spilled from the MT Sanchi thus far and the extent of the environmental damage has not been determined, but the disaster has the potential to be the worst since 1991 when 260,000 tonnes of oil leaked from the ABT Summer off the Angolan coast.
Now here’s a look at the bow of the CF Crystal:
Firefighting efforts were on-going on Monday. The video below shows smoke still billowing from the tanker and, in one part, firefighters appear to be spraying water also across the bow of the CF Crystal:
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