For this, the first installment of the Current Events Blog, we will discuss the collision and subsequent pollution from the Iranian operated oil tanker Sanchi.
The information for this post comes from the CNN article “Oil spill off China coast now the size of Paris” published at 11:50 AM ET, Thu Jan 18, 2018 by Euan McKirdy and Nanlin Fang
This article gives details about the current extent of an oil spill between the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea. It gives background on the payload and shipping company as well as how the spill happened. It also details the obvious and lasting environmental effects.
On Sunday January 7th an Iranian crude oil tanker, the Sanchi collided with another vessel en route to South Korea. This was immediately investigated primarily by Chinese authorities and rescue attempts were made. All thirty of the crew were assumed dead from the initial blast, recovering three bodies from the wreckage. While the devastation was bad from the beginning the eventual leakage of the oil into the East China Sea poses obvious environmental risks. There are many different groupings of oil around the wreckage, the largest of which spans across 19 square miles. This oil, however, is relatively less harmful than other less refined oils as it is condensate oil, it is lighter and evaporates more than other crude oils. It is speculated that most of the oil would have been burned up in the fires but there is clearly more that continues to spread in the oceanic flows. The fact that the oil is lighter and prone to evaporation might aid in the clean up and reduce the contamination of fishing grounds in the neighboring areas, but it still poses a dangerous and potentially long lasting harm to that environment.
The collision with the CF Crystal occured around January 6-7 as the Sanchi was traveling from Asaluyeh in Iran to Daesan in South Korea, The CF Crystal was traveling from Kalama, Washington in the U.S. to Machong, Guangdong Province in China. It is not written how the collision occurred but despite the Sanchi suffering major structural damage, the CF Crystal was able to dock in Zhoushan. This collision causes a major financial problem for the companies involved with expenses in the hundred millions.
This event is horrible and definitely should be brought to the attention of more people. While it is an accident, there should be investigation including interviews of the survivors of the other ship. Clean up is a very large priority as well, seeing as the area that the oil is being spread around is growing to very large distances and it is disturbing many environments that must be considered and protected. In comparison to other oil spills this seems to be a relatively subdued event that isn’t receiving much press and thus not enough support to clear it up. This must be treated as a very large issue because despite the easy evaporation of this condensate oil, it is also potentially highly toxic and could cause immense damage.
I will comment on Matias and Karley's blog posts.