BEIJING – Chinese maritime authorities said on Friday they were considering the possibility of refloating the Iranian oil tanker that sank off the coast of China to halt fuel spill.
The vessel Sanchi, which was carrying 960,000 barrels of natural-gas condensate, on Jan. 6 collided with another ship and exploded, sinking 10 days later and killing all 32 people on board.
In a press conference, the sub-director of the maritime research and rescue center, Zhi Guanglu, was cited by local media as saying that the best solution would be to refloat the tanker, though it would be a dangerous operation due to its massive size.
One of the main dangers was that the operation could cause a second blast, so a detailed evaluation of the situation would have to be carried out over the next few days using underwater robots.
The 274-meter (900-foot) tanker sank to 115 meters below the surface.
The latest evaluations released Friday suggested that fuel could be leaking from the Sanchi.
Natural-gas condensate is a volatile and highly flammable substance that evaporates quickly and burns easily.
However, the vessel’s fuel is very polluting and dangerous to local wildlife.