> Black smoke spewing out of the sunken Iranian oil tanker Monday. It's already been called one of the worst oil ship disasters in decades. Now, Chinese and Japanese officials say this site on the East China sea has been burning even after the vessel sank Sunday evening.
The tanker named Sanchi had been burning and drifting on the ocean since colliding with a freighter over a week ago, it carried almost a million barrels of highly flammable oil condensate. Three bodies have been recovered from the tanker by salvaging rescue teams. The remaining 29 crew members and passengers are presumed dead.
Now as Reuters Josephine Mason reports, officials may have a chance to find out what went wrong.>> The salvages did managed to make it onto the ship before it sank. They recovered the black box, which will give us a clue once the investigators have had a chance to look at it.
The salvagers were only able to stay on the ship for about half an hour before the wind changed direction and became toxic. They were also pushed back by the sheer heat of the site.>> Now, time is ticking to clean up. Experts worry the ship sinking is potentially more damaging to the ocean ecosystem than letting the volatile condensate oil burn off.
They say it will likely contaminate surrounding waters along with a heavy and toxic bunker fuel.>> Condensate is actually very hard to control and contain because it is so light, it will leave a film on the surface of the sea that will be hard to actually see visibly.
The bunker fuel will be easier to control because it's thicker, it's more viscous, but it's also very toxic. Environmental marine experts are worried about the impact of both on marine life.>> The spill is the biggest since the 1991 disaster off the coast of Angola.