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Split verdict on Iranian oil tanker disaster off China

AFP  |  Beijing 

A multinational committee probing a collision between an Iranian and a freighter off has come to differing conclusions over the causes of the accident that led to one of the in decades, according to an investigation report.

The Panama-registered Sanchi, carrying 111,000 tonnes of light crude oil, collided with the Hong Kong-registered in waters off on January 6.

The tanker, operated by Iran's NITC, went down in a ball of flames on January 14, and its entire crew of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis are presumed dead.

The was damaged but was towed to a nearby port and all 21 crew onboard were rescued.

The investigation report seen by AFP, was produced by maritime authorities from China, Hong Kong, and Panama, and has reached diverging conclusions.

Chinese investigators found the Sanchi failed to make way after it saw the other vessel approaching, whereas Iranian and Panamanian investigators blamed a course change by for the accident. maintained that both vessels were to blame.

The investigation based on audio and written recordings from both ships and interviews with surviving crew members from CF Crystal also found that errors by both crews led to the collision.

It said each crew neglected to use to gauge the size of the opposing vessel, and failed to take timely action.

The Sanchi had already had a near-miss earlier the same day when a third ignored a radio alert from the of a fishing vessel, according to the report.

The report did not make any recommendations on possible liabilities or penalties for either party.

According to the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation, the collision led to the worst tanker spill in 35 years.

The type of 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 clean up.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, May 17 2018. 19:55 IST