The fire onboard National Iranian Tanker Co’s suezmax tanker Sanchi continues two days after the vessel collided with Chinese bulker CF Crystal in the East China Sea off Shanghai on Saturday night. So far the 32 crew of the tanker have not been found.
The US Navy has also sent helicopters and ships to join the search for the missing crew, joining teams from both China and South Korea.
According to an official from the Shanghai Maritime Administration, the fire onboard the tanker has spread to the surrounding waters due to a major oil spill from the vessel, which is now at risk of exploding and sinking.
The administration has sealed off a 10 nautical mile radius around the vessel and sent a warning to nearby vessels to avoid the area. A biohazard team is also standby on site as the condensate leaked from the vessel is highly toxic.
The tanker was carrying around 136,000 tonnes of crude oil when the incident happened in one of busiest stretches of water for commercial marine traffic in the world.
China’s Ministry of Transport has set up an investigation team for the incident and CF Crystal has been escorted by rescue vessels to anchor near Zhoushan for further investigation.