Iran strongly calls China for help to Iranian crew of tanker

Iranian oil tanker in East China Sea could burn for a month, South Korean official says

So far, no survivors from the tanker have been found and only one body has been recovered.

"If the crew had a chance to run to the bottom of the ship, they might be still alive", he said.

The ship, the Panama-registered Sanchi tanker, was carrying Iran-produced condensate, a highly flammable ultra-light crude, to deliver to South Korea when it collided with a Chinese freight ship in the East China Sea, on Saturday January 9, 2018.

Photos on the Ministry of Transportation's microblog showed thick black smoke pouring out of the ship on Thursday morning.

China's Ministry of Transport said that poor weather conditions (heavy winds, rain and high waves) has been fanning the fire and hampering efforts to bring it under control.

A total of 32 crew members, including 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis, were on board the oil tanker at the time of the collision. Since then, the tanker has been ablaze and drifting in the waters between Shanghai and southern Japan.

Parts of the listing Sanchi are below the water line and shielded by the fire, and cool enough for any potential survivors, the diplomat said earlier this week.

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By 5 p.m. (0900 GMT) on Thursday, tanker was still on fire and search area had expanded to more than 1,000 square miles.

The front section of an Iranian oil tanker that has been on fire for days off the east China coast has exploded, forcing rescue boats searching for 31 missing sailors to retreat and sparking environmental concerns.

An Iranian crude oil tanker, Sanchi, collided with Chinese freighter CF Crystal during the weekend.

The cause of the collision and damage to the tanker were not clear.

After meeting with a special investigatory committee formed by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, its spokesman, Mohammad Rastad, said that poisonous gas, Wednesday's explosion and oil pollution were complicating the response.

The 21 Chinese crew membesr of the Crystal, which did not burst into flames, were all rescued.

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