0901 GMT May 25, 2018
The Sanchi, which was carrying 136,000 tons of light crude oil from Iran, ran into Hong Kong-registered bulk freighter the CF Crystal on January 6, sparking a fire that Chinese rescue ships struggled to extinguish.
“The location of the wreck has been confirmed,” China’s Transport Ministry said on its official social media platform, adding that the ship lay at a depth of around 115 meters.
Next, “underwater robots will be deployed to explore the wreck waters,” the Transport Ministry added.
The tanker sank on Sunday after a new and massive fire erupted, sending a cloud of black smoke as high as a kilometer above the East China Sea. The bodies of only three of the 32 crew members – 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis – have been found.
On Monday Chinese ships scrambled to clean-up a massive oil spill amid fears of devastating damage to marine life.
The type of condensate oil carried by the Sanchi does not form a traditional surface slick when spilt, but is nonetheless highly toxic to marine life and much harder to separate from water.
In addition to the light crude oil, the Sanchi also carried a fuel tank able to accommodate some 1,000 tons of heavy diesel.
The Chinese government said the tanker has left two oil slicks covering a combined 109 square km (42 square miles).
Satellite imaging showed a slick of 69 square km (26.6 square miles) and a second 40 square km (15.4 square miles) slick, which is less thick and not as concentrated, the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) said in a statement late on Tuesday.
The Japan Coast Guard said on Wednesday the oil slick was “diffusing and disappearing.”
On Tuesday Japan’s Environment Ministry said it did not see much chance that the spill would reach its shores.