Firefighting efforts resume on burning tanker off China

Iran NITC tanker in East China Sea collision covered by IG P&I reinsurance- IG member

A burning Iranian oil tanker is reportedly drifting within Japan's exclusive economic zone in the East China Sea after a collision with a Chinese freighter last weekend.

The Sanchi was carrying almost 1 million barrels of condensate, a type of gassy, ultra-light oil, when it collided Saturday evening with a freighter 257 kilometers (160 miles) off the Chinese coast and caught fire.

Ship tracking data shows the collision occurred in waters not frequently used by large vessels like tankers, dry-bulk carriers or container ships.

A Japanese fireboat is dispatched to the spot to help firefighting operations.

Haghshenas said a 12-member elite rescue team had been dispatched from Iran but was waiting in Shanghai for conditions that would allow them to land on the vessel. Meanwhile, all 21 crew members of the Hong Kong cargo ship have been rescued.

Haghshenas said two fire emergency consultants from the Netherlands and Germany had also been hired "who are now at the scene giving advice to the Chinese".

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It collided with the freighter CF Crystal (IMO:9497050) that was carrying grain from the United States about 160 nautical miles (184 km) off China's coast near Shanghai.

On January 6, Iranian oil tanker Sanchi, registered in Panama, and Hong Kong's СF Crystal cargo ship collided off the Chinese eastern coast.

Ships and aircraft from South Korea and the USA are aiding in rescue efforts, which have been hampered by fierce fires and poisonous gases that have engulfed the tanker and surrounding waters.

When condenstate meets water, it evaporates quickly and can cause large-scale explosion as it reacts with air and turns into a flammable gas, the transportation ministry said on Monday. However, the Sanchi's own fuel that leaked during the collision will be more hard to clean, especially if the tanker explodes and sinks.

According to the Shanghai Maritime Bureau, the incident has not disrupted traffic into and out of Shanghai or China's Yangtze River ports.

In 1991, the ship ABT Summer exploded off Angola, spilling 260,000 tons of Iranian crude oil into the sea.

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