Assessing the impacts of Sanchi incident on Chinese law concerning ship-source oil pollution

Wangwang Xing, Ling Zhu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The Sanchi oil spill incident occurred in East China Sea, in terms of the amount spilt, is the largest in China and ninth in the world so far. The existing studies show that the current legal regime on ship-source oil pollution is largely pushed forward by a few disastrous incidents. Accordingly, this paper presumes that the Sanchi incident significantly promoted Chinese law concerning ship-source oil pollution. However, after looking into the development, particularly the recent improvements of China's legal system in this regard, we find that: 1) China has already proactively established its legal framework on ship-source oil pollution before Sanchi incident along with the growing volume of oil import; 2) only a few pieces of legislations on preventing and reducing oil spills are directly triggered by the Sanchi incident; and 3) the factors including compliance with international treaties, China's long-term legislation plans, reform of the central governance, and others, have additionally prompted China to update its legal framework in the aftermath of Sanchi incident. Furthermore, we identify that some legal issues demonstrated by the Sanchi incident remain unresolved, as follows: 1) China still lacks adequate capabilities in many respects to respond to the open sea oil spills; 2) a clear action plan is necessary for China to enhance international and regional cooperation; and 3) the amount of funds available under China's own compensation law is inadequate. Therefore, it is recommended that China should learn from the Sanchi incident to enhance capacity building on emergency response to open sea oil spill, to promote international and regional cooperation for combating oil pollution, and to level up the compensation standards for tanker oil pollution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106227
JournalOcean and Coastal Management
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2022


  • Law of the sea
  • Oil tanker spill
  • Sanchi incident
  • Ship-source oil pollution
  • Shipping law

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessing the impacts of Sanchi incident on Chinese law concerning ship-source oil pollution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this