Sanchi: Three Bodies Identified

Sanchi on fire
Sanchi on fire

By The Maritime Executive 2018-01-27 15:56:38

The bodies of three of the crew of the tanker Sanchi, which caught fire after a collision on January 6, have been identified.

Local media reported on Saturday that the crew members were Milad Aravi, Majid Naqian and Mohammad Kavousi, all Iranian.

The NITC-owned Sanchi collided with the CF Crystal about 160 nautical miles off the coast of China near Shanghai on route from Iran to South Korea, carrying 136,000 tons (nearly one million barrels) of condensate.

The Sanchi sank on January 14 after burning for several days, and the entire crew of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis are presumed dead.

The maritime authorities of China, Panama, Iran and Hong Kong have signed an agreement to jointly investigate the collision, and the black boxes of both vessels have now been opened. A Chinese salvage team managed to board the stricken tanker and recover two bodies and the voyage data recorder earlier this month. The body of another crew member was found the previous week.

Sanchi was a double-hulled Suezmax crude oil tanker, 274 meters (899 feet) long, with a gross tonnage of 85,462, and deadweight tonnage of 164,154 tons. The wreck has been located at a depth of 115 meters (377 feet).

China’s Ministry of Transport says that a 35-meter (115-foot) wide triangular hole has been observed in the hull of the tanker, but the highly explosive nature of the condensate and rough weather are expected to make it difficult to plug the hole. 

So far, the surface area of the spilled fuel has ranged from 332 square kilometers (128 square miles) on January 21 to 93 square kilometers (36 square miles) on January 25, according to China’s State Oceanic Administration. Estimates have varied due to strong ocean currents, but there is growing concern that fishing grounds and sensitive marine ecosystems off Japan and South Korea may be affected. The Administration says that slicks have been identified as far as two kilometers from the wreck site, and the U.K.'s National Oceanographic Centre predicted on January 16 that the spill could reach Japan within a month.

Over 70 vessels have covered an area of more than 100 nautical miles in clean-up and monitoring efforts.