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Sanchi Oil Spill Has Already Caused ‘Serious Ecological Injury’

Sanchi Oil Spill Has Already Caused ‘Serious Ecological Injury’ thumbnail

By Andy Rowell

The Sanchi oil spill in the East China Sea could potentially be one of the worst tanker spills in decades, experts are warning, even though the spill has now largely disappeared from news reports.

Work by scientists from the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and the University of Southampton, who have plotted where the condensate ends up, believe that the spill could even reach Japan within a month. In doing so, it could severely impact locally important reefs, fishing grounds and protected marine areas.

An Iranian tanker, the Sanchi sank on Jan. 14 after colliding with a cargo ship and setting fire. Thirty two members of the crew were lost.

The ship was carrying 136,000 tons of ultra-light condensate when it sank. What is puzzling scientists is where this will end up and how much damage will be caused.

The scientists from Southampton predict that the condensate could enter the regionally important Kuroshio current and then be “transported quickly along the southern coasts of Kyushu, Shikoku and Honshu islands, potentially reaching the Greater Tokyo Area within 2 months. Pollution within the Kuroshio may then be swept into deeper oceanic waters of the North Pacific.”

According to the scientists, “The revised simulations suggest that pollution from the spill may be distributed much further and faster than previously thought, and that larger areas of the coast may be impacted.”

Their recent simulations “also shift the focus of possible impacts from South Korea to the Japanese mainland, where many more people and activities, including fisheries, may be affected.”

Another issue concerning scientists is the toxic nature of condensate and how we are entering the unknown. Simon Boxall, of the University of Southampton’s National Oceanography Centre, told the BBC earlier this month, “It’s not like crude, which does break down under natural microbial action. This stuff actually kills the microbes that break the oil down.”

Indeed, as an article in the scientific journal Nature recently noted about the condensate, “The lighter petroleum that spilled has never before been released in such massive quantities in the ocean.”

Rick Steiner, a former University of Alaska professor in Anchorage and global expert on oil spills, including the Exxon Valdez, told Nature, “This is charting new ground, unfortunately. This is probably one of the most unique spills ever.”

In other news reports, Steiner, who has been outspoken since the disaster, talks of the spill being “a very big deal. There has been serious ecological injury.”

How much injury or what type, we don’t know yet. As usual with oil spills, it will take time for the impact to become truly apparent. Ralph Portier is a marine microbiologist and toxicologist at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He told Nature, “Most oil spills have a chronic toxicological effect due to heavy residuals remaining and sinking over time. This may be one of the first spills where short-term toxicity is of most concern.”


Oil Spill Spreading in East China Sea ‘Now the Size of Paris’ #OILSpill #EastChinaSea…

— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch) 1516295352.0


11 Comments on "Sanchi Oil Spill Has Already Caused ‘Serious Ecological Injury’"

  1. dave thompson on Mon, 29th Jan 2018 5:54 pm 

    This is a great diversion away from the catastrophic effects of Fukushima.

  2. peakyeast on Mon, 29th Jan 2018 7:09 pm 

    Yet another style of Too Big To Fail – brought to us by overpopulation and over-optimization.

  3. Go Speed Racer on Mon, 29th Jan 2018 10:06 pm 

    We could grind up and sprinkle
    Fukushima nuclear waste,
    onto the ocean to neutralize
    the ultra light
    condensate pollution.
    The two will react, and cancel each
    other out.
    Two wrongs will make a right.

  4. Go Speed Racer on Mon, 29th Jan 2018 10:07 pm 

    If for any reason it doesn’t work, we could
    detonate a hydrogen bomb in the ocean.

    It will blow up all the oil, into the air
    and dissipate it.

  5. Bloomer on Mon, 29th Jan 2018 11:08 pm 

    I watch the evening news almost every night and there was no mention of this massive oil spill. Must be fake news. The cute anchor lady with the perky boobs would of informed us if something major like this was going down.

  6. Go Speed Racer on Tue, 30th Jan 2018 2:47 am 

    Need a few more posts about those perky boobs.

    It’s reminding me of my sister Trixie.

  7. deadly on Tue, 30th Jan 2018 4:39 am 

    Just light it all on fire, it’ll all burn off in about a day and there will be nothing to worry about. Napalm the oil and let the residues burn off.

    Should have all been burned immediately.

    When you burn off grassland, it returns a better stand. Burn off that light oil, solves the problem, the sea water quality will improve.

    Humans are good at burning fossil fuels, they can get that stuff done. Doesn’t matter how it gets done, dump it into the open ocean and light it all afire, just for grins and giggles. If California can burn, well then, by golly, the Pacific can burn too!

    Write some music and sing some songs, make a platinum album.

    It’s oil, has an organic origin, organic content millions of years old makes zee oil, it is green energy from millions of years ago, not that foul Fukushima nuclear fake energy, radiation, that is burning the Pacific, gamma rays go through anything.

    The Pacific will glow, mount a giant blacklight on a great big satellite and shine it on the Pacific at night, it’ll glow. The irradiated water is going to kill all marine life. Tuna will be malignant, cause cancer, if you eat some, you’re gonna die.

    We are doomed.

  8. Jef on Tue, 30th Jan 2018 10:05 am 

    Speedy – What if we toss a bunch of couch cushions on the spill, soak up all the condensate, then have one hell of a bonfire?

  9. Dredd on Tue, 30th Jan 2018 10:40 am 

    The destroyers of the world at work spreading their poisons.

  10. DerHundistlos on Tue, 30th Jan 2018 2:29 pm 

    20 Signs China’s Pollution has Reached Apocalyptic Levels:

  11. Go Speed Racer on Tue, 30th Jan 2018 9:52 pm 

    Jeff you’re hired! Start tossing the sofa cusions
    in the ocean, to suck up all the oil. Good idea!
    Yes we can burn them up onshore, and have a
    great party at the same time. Problem solved.

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