TOKYO (Sputnik) — The tanker is carrying 400 tonnes of sodium hydroxide, the vessel is reported to be heeled and is in danger of drowning. Four members of the crew survived and are perfectly safe, the NHK broadcaster said.
An expert at Russia's Pacific Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry in Vladivostok told RIA Novosti that although the situation is hardly dangerous for the whole Seto Inland Sea, the harbor waters environment could be damaged.
The reaction between sodium hydroxide and the water is quite strong, as the disassociation of the sodium and hydroxide ions and the hydration of those ions releases heat, and may cause burns and blindness if gets into eyes. The use of this chemical in concentration which exceeds the limit of 5 percent is regulated by a low in Japan.
The maritime security service has sent a patrol vessel to the site of the incident.