Iranian oil tanker on fire in East China Sea

Iranian oil tanker Sanchi (IMO 9356608) caught fire in the East China Sea on Saturday January 6th after colliding with Hong Kong-flagged Chinese cargo vessel CF Crystal (IMO 9497050) about 160 nm off the coast of Shanghai, leaving the tanker’s 32 crew – 30 Iranian nationals and two Bangladeshis – missing. The 21 Chinese nationals who made up the crew of 2011-built, 41,073 gt CF Crystal were all rescued and the vessel itself suffered “non-critical” damage, according to the Chinese transport ministry. It had been carrying 64,000 tonnes of grain from the US to the Chinese province of Guangdong, the government said.

2008-built, Panama-registered Sanchi has 85,462 gt and is owned by Bright Shipping Ltd of Tehran, Iran. It is managed by Iran’s National Iranian Tanker Co (NITC). She was en route from Assaluyeh in Iran, which she left on December 16th, for Daesan in South Korea, where she was due to arrive yesterday, January 7th. Sanchi was carrying about 1m barrels (136,000 tonnes) of condensate, an ultra-light crude. Iranian oil ministry spokesman Kasra Nouri told Iranian state television that Sanchi had “valid foreign insurance”. It had been leased by Hanwha Total Petrochemical Co Ltd.

Four rescue ships and three cleaning boats had arrived by 09:00 Sunday morning local time. South Korea sent a ship and a helicopter to assist. Search-and-Rescue efforts were hampered by spillages and a wide perimeter of flames around the vessel.

Condensate, al light oil produced along with natural gas, is mainly produced in Iran at the South Pars offshore field.

Sanchi is entered with Steamship Underwriting (Smuab), Eastern Syndicate, on behalf of Bright Shipping Ltd.

CF Crystal, owned by Changong Group HK Ltd care of manager Shanghai CP International Ship Management of Shanghai, China, is entered with Skuld on behalf of Changfeng Shipping Holdings Lim.