Burning Iranian oil tanker finally sinks in East China Sea after accident

Cheryl Sanders
January 14, 2018

There is "no hope of finding survivors" on a stricken Iranian oil tanker which has been burning off China's east coast for more than a week, officials have said. The ship sank before 5pm, CCTV said.

Meanwhile, China's State Oceanic Administration is expanding the range of its monitoring to "quickly ascertain the spread and drift of overflowing oil" from the boat.

The Sanchi and a cargo ship collided 260km (160 miles) off Shanghai on 6 January, with the tanker then drifting south-east towards Japan.

"Despite our efforts, it has not been possible to extinguish the fire and recover the bodies due to repeated explosions and gas leaks", Mohammad Rastad, head of Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization, said. The Hong Kong-based vessel's 21 crew members were evacuated. The Sanchi was carrying 136,000 tonnes of light crude oil from Iran when the collision happened.

The body of a mariner suspected to be from the ship was recovered on Monday and sent to Shanghai for identification.

Following the incident, 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis who were working on the oil tanker went missing. The four team members tried to get to the ship's living quarters but were driven back by temperatures on the burning ship of around 89 degrees Celsius, Xinhua said. They then entered into the navigation bridge and get SANCHI's black box, also known as the Voyage Data Recorder (VDR).

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