EghtesadOnline: The maritime authorities of China, Panama, Iran and Hong Kong on Thursday signed an agreement to jointly investigate a collision in the East China Sea, which caused the worst oil ship disaster in decades, according to China’s Ministry of Transport.
Investigation work will be organized by a joint team composed of representatives of all four signatories to the agreement, a brief statement from the ministry said, Reuters reported.
The Panama-registered Sanchi tanker, run by Iran’s top oil shipping operator, collided on Jan. 6 with the CF Crystal about 160 nautical miles off the coast of China near Shanghai and the mouth of Yangtze River Delta.
The Sanchi, which was sailing from Iran to South Korea, carrying 136,000 tons of condensate, an ultra light type of crude, sank on Jan. 14 after drifting ablaze for more than a week, Financial Tribune reported.
The ship’s crew of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis are believed to have been killed.
The black boxes for the Sanchi and the CF Crystal have been opened, ISNA reported on Wednesday.
As for the causes of this calamity, the contents of Sanchi's black box containing sailing data and voice recording recovered by Chinese emergency workers on January 13 have yet to be released by authorities.
In the winter, low temperatures reduce evaporation speed, leaving massive condensate floating on the surface as waves spread. Experts warn of the serious immediate and long-term impact on the marine environment.
"The oil on the surface evolves to be highly concentrated, which hinders the respiration of marine life. Oily water containing sulfide can also poison and even kill sea creatures. Without professional treatment and scientific management, its harm will soon become obvious," Huang Weiqiu, a professor at Changzhou University Petroleum Engineering Department, interpreted.
The unpredictable expansion of the massive oil slick worries many fishermen in Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province, which is China's biggest and most important fishery hub.
Rescue teams are reportedly working against the clock to clean up oil slicks. China's State Oceanic Administration is preparing to use professional air-sea stereoscopic equipment to continuously carry out monitoring.
They are paying increased attention to protecting the valuable marine ecosystem and find solutions to safeguard local residents' health and productivity.