Report: Burning Sanchi Drifts into Japanese Waters

Strong winds have pushed the ill-fated Iranian tanker Sanchi away from the Chinese coast into Japan’s exclusive economic zone, Reuters informed citing a Japanese coast guard official.

The stricken tanker, which remains ablaze since colliding with a Hong Kong bulk carrier on January 6, was located about 300 km northwest of Sokkozaki on the island of Amami Oshima as of Thursday afternoon, the official said.

China’s Ministry of Transport said earlier that the burning tanker drifted about 65 nautical miles south from the spot where it collided with CF Crystal.

Chinese authorities have resumed firefighting operations at the scene of the burning oil tanker, the country’s Ministry of Transport said in an update today.

As informed, as of January 11, 12 salvage and rescue vessels were deployed to the site with a task of searching for potential survivors.

The ship’s 31 of 32 crew members remain unaccounted for since the collision. One body has been recovered from the wreck and sent for identification.

The owner of the ship, National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), believes there might be survivors on board the company’s stricken oil tanker.

According to a company spokesperson, since the vessel’s engine room is not directly affected by the fire and is about 14 meters under water, there is still hope, as the crew is likely to have found shelter there.

The ministry said that the rescue teams have so far covered a search area of over 1,000 square miles.

Applying foam to the ship’s hull to contain the fire is being resumed as well.

The ministry reiterated warnings that due to the damages the ship’s hull suffered as a result of the fire and explosions on board, the ship remains to be in danger of further explosions and sinking.

Poisonous gases emitted from the vessel together with harsh weather continue hampering the rescue mission.

World Maritime News Staff

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