The “Sanchi” could burn for weeks or as long as one month, South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said on Jan 10, as the blaze raged for the fourth day. 13 rescue boats battled strong winds, high waves and poisonous fumes to comb a 900-square-nautical-mile (3,100-square-kilometre) area for 31 missing sailors and tame the fire.
The search area was extended as the tanker had meanwhile drifted 100 miles in southern direction. The hope was that perhaps there were survivors 14 meters down in the engine room. The Chinese government said on Jan 9 it had not found a large-scale oil leak, and the condensate was burning off or evaporating so quickly that it would leave little residue – less than 1 percent – within five hours of a spill.
That reduced the chances of a crude-style oil slick. Still, condensate is highly volatile when exposed to air and water and concerns were growing the tanker could explode and sink. The authorities suspect the tanker caught fire as soon as it hit the freighter carrying grain. There were also concerns regarding the bunker fuel of the tanker in case of a rupture of the fuel tanks.
Source: Vessel Tracker