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Ship sinks in Yangtze after bridge collision

15 May 2013
A ship that collided with the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge on the morning of 12 May has leaked fuel but it has not polluted water supplies, according to officials quoted by Global Times.

The ship, Xinchuan 8, was on its way from Tongling, Anhui province to Luoyuan in Fujian province, and was carrying 12,500 tons of limestone. The damage caused the vessel to take on water, according to Nanjing Maritime Safety Administration.

All 18 crew members were rescued by local patrol ships at 4:55am, just five minutes before the ship sank about 3.5km downstream of the bridge.

The scene was surrounded by oil absorbent booms and materials to clean up the oil spill.

The sinking prompted some citizens in downstream Yizheng, Yangzhou city to buy bottled water as a precaution. However, a local official said that the river’s water had not been affected by the cargo as limestone can be dissolved in water; he did not comment on the fuel leakage.

The vessel is owned by Rushan Xinchuan Shipping based in Weihai, Shandong province and has a capacity of 12,539 tons. With larger ships sailing on the Yangtze, bridges are facing increasing risks, said the Nanjing Maritime Safety Administration.

Nanjing has five cross-river bridges and three of them, including the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge, have not been equipped with anti-collision barriers.

Authorities say that the 53-year-old bridge remains in good condition. Work began on 13 May to clear the fuel spill and a plan to salvage the vessel is being drawn up.

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