Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Oil Spill From Sanchi May Have Reached Japan

Energy
Oil Spill From Sanchi May Have Reached Japan
Coastline in Amami City, Kagoshima. TANAKA Juuyoh / Flickr

By Andy Rowell

Oil from the stricken oil tanker Sanchi, which exploded and sank in the East China Sea, may have now reached the shores of Japan, according to the country's Coast Guard.

Reuters reported Friday that residents on the Japanese Amami-Oshima islands, famed for pristine beaches and reefs, have reported black oil clumps being washed up.


Officials are now checking to find out whether the oil is from the Iranian registered tanker, which was carrying an estimated 136,000 tonnes of condensate when it sank in mid-January, with the loss of all 32 members of the crew. It also had nearly 1,900 tonnes of bunker fuel oil on board.

It is unknown if the ultra light condensate could form black oily clumps or if indeed this is even the heavier bunker oil. But if the oil has come from the Sanchi, then this would be a serious setback for Japanese authorities, who said last month that there was little chance the spill would reach the county's shores.

This optimism, however, was contradicted by scientists from the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and the University of Southampton in the UK. As I reported earlier in the week, they plotted the path of the spill and believed it could reach Japanese shores "within a month."

If this is indeed condensate from the Sanchi, then the speed of the spill will also alarm authorities and scientists alike, as it has reached Japan faster than the models predicted.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Transport said Thursday at a press conference that more than 225 square nautical miles (770 square kilometers) of affected waters "had been restored."

The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture is also claiming that from over 100 marine samples, "no abnormalities" had been found so far, and they would keep on monitoring. A 30 nautical mile exclusion zone remains around the site of the accident with fishing prohibited.

Earlier this week, an Iranian member of the multinational team set up to investigate the accident said his government was now studying the black box data recorder from the tanker to find out how and why the accident happened.

Marilyn Angel Wynn / Getty Images

By Christina Gish Hill

Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Former U.S. Sec. of Energy Ernest Moniz listens during the National Clean Energy Summit 9.0 on October 13, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Isaac Brekken / Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit

By Jake Johnson

Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Climate change can evoke intense feelings, but a conversational approach can help. Reed Kaestner / Getty Images

Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.


Read More Show Less
A rare North Atlantic right whale is seen off Cape Cod Bay on April 14, 2019 near Provincetown, Massachusetts. Don Emmert / AFP / Getty Images

An extremely rare North Atlantic right whale calf was found dead off the North Carolina coast on Friday.

Read More Show Less
Sprinklers irrigate a field of onions near a Castilian village in Spain. According to a new study, the average farm size in the EU has almost doubled since the 1960s. miguelangelortega / Moment / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

A new report released Tuesday details the "shocking" state of global land equality, saying the problem is worse than thought, rising, and "cannot be ignored."

Read More Show Less