Oil from sunken Iranian tanker may have reached Japan shores – Coast Guard

NBN Asia News

NBN Asia News

Oil from the world’s worst crude tanker disaster in decades may have reached the shores of Japan, the Japanese Coast Guard said on Friday.

The oil spill from a stricken Iranian tanker Sanchi that sank on Sunday is seen in the East China Sea, on January 17, 2018 in this photo provided by Japan’s 10th Regional Coast Guard. 10th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters/Handout via REUTERS/Files

TOKYO: Oil from the world’s worst crude tanker disaster in decades may have reached the shores of Japan, the Japanese Coast Guard said on Friday.

Black oil clumps of have reached the shores of the island of Amami-Oshima, a coast guard official told Reuters by phone. Authorities are checking to see if it comes from the Sanchi tanker that sank in the East China Sea last month, after being alerted to its presence by the public.

Amami-Oshima is part of a chain of islands that includes Okinawa, an area famous for pristine beaches and reef systems. The Iranian tanker sank nearly three weeks ago, raising worries about damage to the marine ecosystem.

The bodies of two sailors were recovered from the ship while a third body was pulled from the sea near the vessel. The remaining 29 crew of the ship are presumed dead.

Earlier the Chinese government said the sunken tanker had left two oil slicks. The ship, which was carrying 136,000 tonnes or almost 1 million barrels of condensate – an ultra-light, highly flammable crude oil – sank after several explosions weakened the hull.

Japan’s environment ministry had said last month it saw little chance that the spill would reach Japanese shores.

(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Writing by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Tom Hogue and Kenneth Maxwell)