Exploding Iranian oil tanker drifts into Japan's economic zone

Cheryl Sanders
January 13, 2018

A Japanese coastguard spokesman said: "We offered support for efforts to deal with the accident but the Chinese side said they will handle the case by themselves".

The ship, which has been ablaze for nearly a week since it collided with another vessel Saturday night in the East China Sea, was about 300 km (186 miles) northwest of Sokkozaki on the island of Amami Oshima as of Thursday afternoon, a spokesman from the Coast Guard's 10th region based in Kagoshima said.

Exploding Iranian oil tanker drifts into Japan's economic zone

The Sanchi oil tanker that caught fire as a result of colliding with a freighter off China's coast, was driven by strong winds into Japan's exclusive economic zone.

The vessel was 286 km (178 miles) northwest of Sokkozaki at 7am on Friday.

Twelve ships spraying foam are struggling to extinguish the tanker, which was carrying a cargo of almost 1 million barrels of condensate, a type of gassy, ultra-light oil. Several patrol boats and planes have been dispatched to the area to control the situation.

The entire crew of the Panamanian-registered vessel — 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis — went missing after its collision with the Chinese freighter CF Crystal.

Fourteen ships are carrying out emergency response work, including one from Japan and two from South Korea, the transport ministry said in a statement released late on Friday. One body has been found but 31 sailors, mainly Iranians, remain missing with officials in Iran hoping they have found sanctuary on an unaffected part of the vessel.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman told AFP the government had put "a high degree of emphasis on the rescue work" and maintained "a welcoming and open attitude towards other countries coming to participate". Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.

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