Oil tanker trapped in worst sea ice off east China

Updated: 2010-01-15 10:11
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Nine crew members of an oil tanker trapped amid ice off east China coast Wednesday have been evacuated to safety, local authorities said Thursday.

The tanker ran aground after hitting ice 5.5 nautical miles off the Weifang port in the eastern province of Shandong in the Bohai Sea at 10:43 a.m. Wednesday, according to Shandong Emergency Management Office.

The ice pierced the bottom compartment of the 1,000-tonne oil tanker from the eastern province of Zhejiang. There was no casualty or oil leakage.

An icebreaker has been sent to rescue the grounded tanker, said the agency.

The worst sea ice in 30 years appeared from early January along the coastline of the Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea as cold fronts pushed temperature to minus 10 degrees Celsius and below, according to the National Marine Forecasting Station.

Sea ice in Liaodong Bay expanded to 60 nautical miles off the coast on Tuesday from 38 nautical miles on Dec. 31, according to the station.

In the following week, the floating chunks of ice could extend up to 90 nautical miles off the coast of Bohai and 25 nautical miles in the northern Yellow Sea. The ice thickness could measure up to 40 cm, the station said.

The station has issued warnings against sea ice, saying it could threaten port infrastructure, transportation and maritime operations.

Editor: Li Jing

Source: Xinhua