China, Iran, Panama sign probe report on sunken oil tanker Sanchi
China, Iran and Panama have signed an investigation report on the sinking of the Iranian oil tanker Sanchi, according to the Ministry of Transport.
On Jan. 6, the Panama-registered oil tanker Sanchi, carrying 136,000 tonnes of light crude oil from Iran, collided with the CF Crystal, a Hong Kong-registered bulk freighter, about 300 kilometers east of the Yangtze estuary.
After the collision, Chinese personnel risked their lives to rescue the crew aboard the Sanchi and put out the fire on the tanker. The accident left three crew members dead and 29 missing from the Sanchi, while severely damaging the Hong Kong ship.
After months of scrutiny by a three-country joint investigation group, related parties have reached consensus on the basic facts around the accident, including the properties of Sanchi’s cargo, identification of the crew, time of the collision and process of the accident, according to the ministry.
The investigation has been fact-based, legitimate, objective, fair and transparent, offering details on how the accident happened and suggestions on safety management, the ministry said.
Differences remain concerning the direct cause of the accident, according to the report.
In line with the rules on vessel accident investigations by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Chinese investigators found the onus was on Sanchi to make way as both vessels were closing in on a collision course before the accident, and the fact it failed to take the needed action was the direct cause.
Iranian and Panamanian investigators blamed a slight course change by the CF Crystal for causing the accident.
China, which led the investigation, has submitted the investigation report to the IMO.
It was the world’s first collision and explosion involving a vessel carrying condensate, an ultra-light crude oil.