Burning Iranian oil tanker sinks after Jan 6 collision

  Jan.16--THE Iranian oil tanker that collided with a Hong Kong-registered freighter in the East China Sea has sunk after burning for more than a week.

  The stricken tanker Sanchi had been adrift and on fire following the accident with the freighter CF Crystal on January 6.

  "Currently it has already sunk," China Central Television (CCTV) said, citing the Shanghai maritime search and rescue centre. It showed video of a tower of billowing black smoke that it said reached as high as 1,000 metres, and flames on the surface of the water.

  China's State Oceanic Administration said that because the hull of the ship had detonated, a large amount of oil in surrounding waters was on fire, Reuters reported quoting the official Xinhua news agency.

  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.

  The Sanchi's crew consisted of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis. A Chinese salvage team recovered two bodies from the tanker and another body, presumed to be one of the Sanchi's sailors, was found on Monday and brought to Shanghai for identification.

  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had earlier told his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif by telephone that "as long as there is 1 per cent of hope, China will continue to make 100 per cent effort" to rescue and recover the crew.

  The tanker, owned by National Iranian Tanker Co, was carrying almost 1 million barrels of condensate, an ultra-light crude oil, to South Korea. It collided with the CF Crystal which was carrying grain from the United States, about 160 nautical miles (184 km) off China's coast near Shanghai.


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