EnvironmentGreater ChinaTankers

Fears bunkers are seeping from sunken Sanchi

Four separate oil slicks from the sunken Sanchi oil tanker have resulted in more than 100 sq km of fuel leaking out into the East China Sea, an area equivalent in size to the city of Paris. Moreover, Chinese authorities are now worried that the ship’s bunkers are also seeping out.

China’s State Oceanic Administration (SOA) said that a new slick detected yesterday near the ship could be bunker fuel.

It has been estimated that the ships was carrying around 1,000 tonnes of bunkers at the time it collided with the CF Crystal bulker 13 days ago. It was carrying 136,000 tonnes of condensate before the accident, much of which evaporated after the stricken shipped burned for days.

China is deploying underwater robots to assess the damage of the wrecked ship, which is lying in depths of around 115 m, with a possible view to sealing some of its holes. All 32 crew of the Sanchi died in the accident.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Some interesting jurisdictional and liability issues here in relation to both oil pollution and wreck removal as well as the entitlement of 3rd parties to bring a direct action for compensation against the Sanchi’s P&I Club. A such, the Sanchi collision, apportionment of blame, damage to the CF Crystal, crew deaths, pollution salvage (SCOPIC) and wreck removal aspects will all provide a fascinating case study for my NTU MSc students on their upcoming SM II/Maritime Law module. A perfect text book case apart from the tragic fact that it all really happened.

Back to top button