Burning oil tanker sinks at sea with 32 crew members dead

Sergio Conner
January 14, 2018

The SANCHI tanker was transporting 140,000 tons of gas condensate when it collided with the Hong Kong CF Cristal cargo ship, 290 kilometers east of the Yangtze River in the East China Sea.

The stricken tanker, called the Sanchi, which had been adrift and on fire for more than a week following the accident with another vessel in the East China Sea, had "suddenly ignited" around 12pm local time, China Central Television said. The ship sank before 5 p.m. (0900 GMT), CCTV said.

The Administration said it would expand the scope of its monitoring and "quickly ascertain the spread and drift of overflowing oil" from the wrecked ship.

All of its crew - 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis - have been confirmed as dead.

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Iranian officials have dispatched army special forces to the scene to rescue the missing sailors but the rescuers failed to enter the tanker due to the huge fire and explosions.

The tanker Sanchi, owned by Iran's top oil-shipping operator, National Iranian Tanker Co, was carrying nearly 1 million barrels of condensate, an ultralight, highly flammable and explosive fuel, to South Korea.

All 32 crew members aboard the vessel presumably died within the first hour of the incident, spokesman for Iran's rescue team Mohammed Rastad said.

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