Oil spill off China on fire
Authorities were trying to assess the environmental impact of oil that is on fire in the East China Sea after an Iranian tanker sank and caused a spill that covered about four square miles.
The Sanchi was carrying one million barrels of condensate, a highly flammable type of light oil, with most of that supply seen burning off rather than slicking the water. While the cargo is four times larger than the heavier crude the Exxon Valdez spilled off Alaska in 1989— affectiong about 1,300 miles of shoreline and destroying thousands of marine fauna—the blaze off China’s coast may help minimise environmental damage.
The Iranian ship sank on Sunday following a blaze after the tanker collided with another ship on January 6, leaving all its 32 crew members presumed dead. If all the condensate leaked into the sea instead of burning off, the spill would be one of the biggest from a ship over the past five decades.
The East China Sea is a large fishing area, and species such as mackerel could be affected by a spill, Greenpeace said last week. If there were a large-scale leak, then there would be an impact on creatures such as the small yellow croaker and hairtail, according to the environmental group.—Bloomberg