Burning Sanchi Drifts into Japanese Waters

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…As Shipping Firms Strengthen Fight against Cyber Crime***

Strong winds have pushed the ill-fated Iranian tanker Sanchi away from the Chinese coast into Japan’s exclusive economic zone, Reuters informed citing a Japanese coast guard official.

The stricken tanker, which remains ablaze since colliding with a Hong Kong bulk carrier on January 6, was located about 300 km northwest of Sokkozaki on the island of Amami Oshima as of Thursday afternoon, the official said.

China’s Ministry of Transport said earlier that the burning tanker drifted about 65 nautical miles south from the spot where it collided with CF Crystal.

Chinese authorities have resumed firefighting operations at the scene of the burning oil tanker, the country’s Ministry of Transport said in an update today.

As informed, as of January 11, 12 salvage and rescue vessels were deployed to the site with a task of searching for potential survivors.

The ship’s 31 of 32 crew members remain unaccounted for since the collision. One body has been recovered from the wreck and sent for identification.

The owner of the ship, National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), believes there might be survivors on board the company’s stricken oil tanker.

According to a company spokesperson, since the vessel’s engine room is not directly affected by the fire and is about 14 meters under water, there is still hope, as the crew is likely to have found shelter there.

The ministry said that the rescue teams have so far covered a search area of over 1,000 square miles.

Applying foam to the ship’s hull to contain the fire is being resumed as well.

The ministry reiterated warnings that due to the damages the ship’s hull suffered as a result of the fire and explosions on board, the ship remains to be in danger of further explosions and sinking.

Poisonous gases emitted from the vessel together with harsh weather continue hampering the rescue mission.

In the meantime, during the last year, the majority of shipping companies has been exposed to cyber attacks and has intensified the fight against cyber crime, according to a survey in Danish Shipping’s CEO Panel.

The survey shows that cyber crime has become more important on the shipping companies’ agenda. Out of the 26 senior executives who took part in the survey, 42 percent indicated that they are “very worried or extremely worried that their company will be attacked or that their data will be lost in the coming 12 months.”

Danish Shipping said that the concern is based on a concrete threat as around 69 percent of the companies have been subject to cyber crime over the last year, according to the responses to the panel.

“Cyber threats must certainly be taken very seriously,” Maria Skipper Schwenn,  Executive Director in Danish Shipping, said, adding that it is positive that 69 percent of the companies have increased their IT security budgets the past year.

Skipper Schwenn informed that the cyber threat is not expected to diminish in future, adding that the attacks experienced by the shipping companies are attacks that any company is at risk of being exposed to.

“Therefore, it is not the ships and the safety of the crew that is of the greatest concern but attacks on land-based systems and the consequences of these,” Skipper Schwenn said.

“Consequently, we encourage all our members to take the threat seriously and we will work closely with the authorities to ensure that our members are better equipped to fight the threat. Therefore, it is also good to see that shipping companies prioritise larger budgets for IT security,” she concluded.

Strong winds have pushed the ill-fated Iranian tanker Sanchi away from the Chinese coast into Japan’s exclusive economic zone, Reuters informed citing a Japanese coast guard official.

The stricken tanker, which remains ablaze since colliding with a Hong Kong bulk carrier on January 6, was located about 300 km northwest of Sokkozaki on the island of Amami Oshima as of Thursday afternoon, the official said.

China’s Ministry of Transport said earlier that the burning tanker drifted about 65 nautical miles south from the spot where it collided with CF Crystal.

Chinese authorities have resumed firefighting operations at the scene of the burning oil tanker, the country’s Ministry of Transport said in an update today.

As informed, as of January 11, 12 salvage and rescue vessels were deployed to the site with a task of searching for potential survivors.

The ship’s 31 of 32 crew members remain unaccounted for since the collision. One body has been recovered from the wreck and sent for identification.

The owner of the ship, National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), believes there might be survivors on board the company’s stricken oil tanker.

According to a company spokesperson, since the vessel’s engine room is not directly affected by the fire and is about 14 meters under water, there is still hope, as the crew is likely to have found shelter there.

The ministry said that the rescue teams have so far covered a search area of over 1,000 square miles.

Applying foam to the ship’s hull to contain the fire is being resumed as well.

The ministry reiterated warnings that due to the damages the ship’s hull suffered as a result of the fire and explosions on board, the ship remains to be in danger of further explosions and sinking.

Poisonous gases emitted from the vessel together with harsh weather continue hampering the rescue mission.

In the meantime, during the last year, the majority of shipping companies has been exposed to cyber attacks and has intensified the fight against cyber crime, according to a survey in Danish Shipping’s CEO Panel.

The survey shows that cyber crime has become more important on the shipping companies’ agenda. Out of the 26 senior executives who took part in the survey, 42 percent indicated that they are “very worried or extremely worried that their company will be attacked or that their data will be lost in the coming 12 months.”

Danish Shipping said that the concern is based on a concrete threat as around 69 percent of the companies have been subject to cyber crime over the last year, according to the responses to the panel.

“Cyber threats must certainly be taken very seriously,” Maria Skipper Schwenn, Executive Director in Danish Shipping, said, adding that it is positive that 69 percent of the companies have increased their IT security budgets the past year.

Skipper Schwenn informed that the cyber threat is not expected to diminish in future, adding that the attacks experienced by the shipping companies are attacks that any company is at risk of being exposed to.

“Therefore, it is not the ships and the safety of the crew that is of the greatest concern but attacks on land-based systems and the consequences of these,” Skipper Schwenn said.

“Consequently, we encourage all our members to take the threat seriously and we will work closely with the authorities to ensure that our members are better equipped to fight the threat. Therefore, it is also good to see that shipping companies prioritise larger budgets for IT security,” she concluded.

World Maritime News