Iranian oil tanker sinks after burning for more than a week

Relatives of sailors who were onboard Sanchi oil tanker that sunk off the coast of China mourn inside the Iranian company in Tehran on Sunday. Photo by Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA-EFE

Jan. 14 (UPI) — An Iranian oil tanker burning for more than a week in the East China Sea finally sank Sunday, leaving no hope for the rescue of 32 people aboard the vessel, rescuers said.

The vessel, the Sanchi, collided Jan. 6 with a Chinese cargo ship, the Crystal.

Sanchi was carrying about 1 million barrels of an ultra-light form of oil called condensate to South Korea when it hit the Chinese freighter, loaded with grain from the United States. The tanker has been burning since last weekend and sections of it exploded Wednesday.

Officials recovered three bodies from the Sanchi — one last week and two others Saturday morning. The 32 crew members included 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis.

Mohammad Rastad, spokesman for an Iranian rescue team, said there was “no hope” for the recovery of any of the bodies.

Rescuers attempted to reach the crew’s living quarters Saturday, but high temperatures prevented them. They were able to retrieve the vessel’s data recorder, though, Voice of America reported.

The State Oceanic Administration of China said there was a large amount of spilled oil burning on the surface of the water. The agency said it would monitor to spill’s impact on the environment.


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