WEATHER AUTHORITY : Heat Advisory View Alerts

Oil tanker Sanchi partially explodes in East China Sea

Part of an oil tanker that has been ablaze for days off the coast of Shanghai exploded Wednesday, forcing rescue boat...

Posted: Jan 11, 2018 11:22 AM
Updated: Jan 11, 2018 11:22 AM

Part of an oil tanker that has been ablaze for days off the coast of Shanghai exploded Wednesday, forcing rescue boats searching for 31 missing sailors to retreat, Chinese authorities said.

The Panama-registered tanker, Sanchi, was carrying 136,000 tons -- around 1 million barrels -- of oil from Iran to South Korea when it collided with the Hong Kong-registered CF Crystal freighter in the East China Sea on Saturday evening. Since then, the tanker has been ablaze and drifting in the waters between Shanghai and southern Japan.

By Wednesday evening, the stricken ship had drifted 65 nautical miles southeast from the site of the collision, China's Ministry of Transport said. The front section of the SANCHI had exploded earlier Wednesday, at around 1.30 local time (12.30 a.m ET).

"Vessels at the scene have to stop putting out the fire and withdraw back to (a safe distance)," the statement said. "The fire extinguishing operation did not achieve the desired effect."

Thirty Iranian and two Bangladeshi sailors were onboard during the catastrophic collision. So far, no survivors from the tanker have been found and only one body has been recovered.

The CF-Crystal had been transporting food from the United States to the Chinese province of Guangdong, the China's Ministry of Transport said, adding that its 21 crew members has all been rescued.

Operator: China not cooperating

A spokesman for the National Iranian Tanker Company, Iran's top oil shipping operator and a joint public-private company which owns and operates the Sanchi, told Iranian state media that China was not attempting to rescue the sailors, nor extinguish the blaze.

Mohsen Bahrami, spokesman for company, confirmed to CNN that he told the Iranian Students' News Agency, one of the country's state outlets, that "China did not help with the rescue efforts of the people on board the Iranian tanker."

He told ISNA that despite having firefighting assets in the area, Chinese authorities were not actively trying to extinguish the blaze.

"China has a lot of firefighting equipment and personnel near burning tanker but it is not using them," he said.

CNN has contacted the Chinese authorities for comment but has not yet received a reply.

Ongoing operations

China's Ministry of Foreign affairs said Wednesday that 12 vessels were searching for the missing sailors in the tanker's vicinity before the explosion, and efforts were continuing to clean up any spilled light crude.

The Japanese Coast Guard told CNN Thursday that it is sending at least one patrol ship and one aircraft to gather the information of the accident and the status of the area in order to issue navigation updates and warnings.

The Coast Guard does not currently plan on sending teams to contribute to either the rescue or firefighting efforts but confirmed that Chinese teams are working to extinguish the blaze.

With a length of 900 feet (274 meters) and displacing more than 85,000 tons, the Sanchi is almost as big as the US Navy's Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, according to the ship-tracking site marinetraffic.com.

Iran's Shana news agency reported that the Sanchi was managed by the National Iranian Tanker Company and that its cargo was worth around $60 million. Shana said the oil had been purchased by South Korean customers.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 66646

Reported Deaths: 1874
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5599118
DeSoto363230
Harrison249836
Madison241464
Rankin227633
Jackson226942
Jones188558
Forrest177856
Washington164641
Lee142839
Lauderdale140792
Neshoba128592
Lamar120214
Oktibbeha111838
Bolivar110834
Warren108932
Lowndes107437
Panola105412
Sunflower102425
Scott99820
Lafayette96416
Copiah95028
Pike92836
Leflore92562
Holmes89048
Grenada84321
Yazoo82912
Pontotoc8218
Lincoln80941
Simpson79530
Leake78625
Monroe77853
Wayne76421
Coahoma74312
Tate72028
Marshall6889
Marion65720
Union62716
Winston62016
Adams61725
Covington61213
George5595
Newton54211
Pearl River54038
Tallahatchie53010
Attala52125
Walthall49819
Chickasaw45920
Noxubee45311
Alcorn4195
Calhoun4179
Prentiss41710
Tishomingo4095
Claiborne40413
Smith40413
Clay39413
Hancock38814
Jasper3879
Tippah36013
Itawamba35810
Tunica3337
Clarke32625
Montgomery3213
Lawrence3197
Yalobusha31310
Humphreys29111
Quitman2621
Carroll26111
Greene24111
Kemper23214
Perry2327
Jefferson Davis2316
Amite2306
Webster22812
Wilkinson20513
Sharkey1975
Jefferson1957
Stone1944
Benton1431
Choctaw1334
Franklin1242
Issaquena261
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 94827

Reported Deaths: 1674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson12969243
Mobile9836206
Montgomery6609148
Madison531433
Tuscaloosa419073
Unassigned356061
Baldwin350224
Shelby326035
Marshall313035
Lee266045
Morgan236918
Etowah210431
DeKalb179813
Calhoun176113
Elmore171538
Walker152064
Houston138612
Russell13582
St. Clair132817
Dallas131823
Limestone131813
Franklin127020
Cullman122012
Colbert117113
Lauderdale115717
Autauga108621
Escambia107516
Talladega100913
Jackson9684
Tallapoosa85479
Chambers84038
Dale82723
Blount7884
Chilton7886
Butler75836
Coffee7566
Covington73420
Pike7037
Clarke6629
Barbour5735
Lowndes57124
Marion57024
Marengo55315
Hale47326
Bullock46311
Winston45011
Perry4404
Bibb4265
Wilcox42610
Monroe4194
Randolph39610
Pickens3929
Conecuh38810
Washington38612
Sumter36018
Lawrence3481
Macon33414
Crenshaw3143
Choctaw28112
Cherokee2707
Henry2593
Geneva2570
Clay2525
Greene25011
Lamar2202
Fayette2045
Cleburne1261
Coosa1012
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Few Clouds
97° wxIcon
Hi: 98° Lo: 75°
Feels Like: 100°
Columbus
Clear
94° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 102°
Oxford
Few Clouds
93° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 97°
Starkville
Clear
91° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 95°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather