Tanker May Explode Anytime! Poisonous Air Endangers Rescue

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In a deadly incident, an oil tanker reportedly collided with a cargo ship in China with reports of 32 people missing.

What happened?

The oil tanker ‘Sanchi’ collided with a cargo ship ‘CF Crystal’ in the east coast of China. The tanker loaded with 1,36,000 tonnes of oil worth $60 million reportedly caught fire after the collision.

The tanker loaded with oil was travelling to Daesan in South Korea from Kharg Island in Iran. The cargo vessel was carrying 64,000 tonnes of grain from the US to Guangdong province in southern China.

Thirty two people missing:

The collision resulted in the missing of thirty two people while another twenty people were rescued alive.

The missing crew members comprise of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis from the Panama-registered vessel.

Tanker on fire:

The oil tanker continues to be on fire and huge smoke plumes have been noticed. The tanker is leaking oil and the officials are taking measures to contain it.

Poor weather in the vicinity and smoke from the tanker have hampered rescue efforts.

Eight Chinese ships have been sent for the search-and-rescue operation. South Korea has also sent a coast guard ship and a helicopter to aid the relief.

Possibility of explosion:

Now the rescuers are faced with a dangerous possibility of the oil tanker exploding at any time. The oil tanker and leaked cargo were burning furiously and that fumes were hampering rescue efforts. It said that experts believed there was a risk the vessel could explode and sink.

Lu Kang, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, “We have also dispatched some cleaning vessels to the site to prevent any secondary disaster”.

Environmental and health impact:

The oil that was transported was condensate oil, a type of colorless, ultralight crude oil that is more flammable than normal crude oil, meaning the tanker is at greater risk of exploding.

If the tanker explodes, the cleanup is difficult as it will seep beneath the water surface. But if the tanker does not explode, the environmental impact is likely to be less severe than with a spillage of heavy crude oil.

Experts added, “Between 40% and 70% of the oil is likely to evaporate in the first 24 to 48 hours if the sea is calm”.

Depending on wind direction and strength, however, these fumes could be carried toward the shore and into population areas. The toxic fumes “could aggravate existing health conditions or lead to coughing or asthma”.

They are upkeep that the oil that remains in the ocean, the best outcome is to be dispersed by winds and waves. The oil will then be broken down into tiny droplets or consumed by microbes that will break down the oil into water-soluble components.

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Source: CNN

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