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Burning Iran tanker: Search for survivors resumes after blast

12 January 2018, 09:16 | Devin Moran

Iranian oil tanker in East China Sea could burn for a month

Smoke is seen from Panama-registered Sanchi tanker carrying Iranian oil that caught ablaze after it collided with a Chinese freight ship in the East China Sea. China's Ministry of Transport  via REUTERS

The oil from the tanker is condensate oil that is expected to quickly evaporate upon hitting the water, with "very little residue on the water's surface", the ministry said.

Iranian oil tanker "Sanchi" which collided with a Chinese freight ship in the East China Sea on Saturday is still on fire after several days.

The CF-Crystal had been transporting food from the United States to the Chinese province of Guangdong, the China's Ministry of Transport said, adding that its 21 crew members has all been rescued.

The Chinese government has confirmed that dozens of rescue boats are at sea trying to control the fire, as the oil tanker continues to burn for the third day.

One crewman's body has been recovered, while the others remain missing.

The Sanchi was carrying almost 1 million barrels of condensate, a type of gassy, ultra-light oil, when it collided on Saturday evening with a freighter 257 kilometres from Shanghai and caught fire.




But rescue efforts were still being hampered by "terrible" weather conditions and toxic gases from the burning oil which "pose a great danger to rescuers", the ministry said in a statement.

The entire crew of the Panamanian-registered vessel - 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis - went missing after its collision with the Chinese freighter CF Crystal. A flotilla of 13 search-and-rescue vessels is still looking for them in the 900-square-nautical-mile area around the oil tanker.

The tanker was carrying 136,000 tonnes of condensate, a highly flammable ultra-light crude, to South Korea, but it's unlikely the spill will reach the country's shores. It is not clear whether the explosion will cause the boat to sink.

Search and rescue teams from the South Korean Coast Guard have been forced to stay as far as three miles away from the ferocious blaze.

It's the second collision for a ship from the National Iranian Tanker Co.in less than a year and a half.



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