IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim visited the Islamic Republic of Iran to participate in the country's national celebration of World Maritime Day, on 8 September. The Secretary-General met the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, and participated in a ceremony to commemorate seafarers who lost their lives aboard the Iranian-owned oil tanker Sanchi earlier this year.
The 'Sanchi', operated by National Iranian Tanker Co, was sailing from Iran to South Korea, carrying 136,000 tonnes of condensate, when it collided with the ‘CF Crystal’, about 160 nautical miles off the coast, near Shanghai and the mouth of the Yangtze River Delta, and went ablaze in 6 January. After being on fire for more than a week, it suffered two explosions which led the vessel to sink.
The ship was carrying a total of 32 crew members, 30 Iranian and 2 Bangladeshi nationals, all of whom were reported missing. The remaining 29 people are still unaccounted for and presumed dead.
The casualty also created a major environmental pollution in Chinese waters. The oil spill has created four separate slicks covering a total area of 100 square km (or 39 square miles), which is almost equivalent to the size of Paris. According to Greenpeace, the area of the sinking is a spawning ground for many species, such as the swordtip squid, as well as a migratory pathway for several marine mammals, such as humpback whales and gray whales.