A multinational committee probing a collision between an Iranian oil tanker and a freighter off China has come to differing conclusions over the causes of the accident that led to one of the worst oil spills in decades, according to an investigation report.
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 CF Crystal 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, Iran 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 CF Crystal for the accident. Hong Kong 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 on-board equipment to gauge the size of the opposing vessel, and failed to take timely action.
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 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 clean up.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)