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Burning Iranian oil tanker sinks in Japanese waters

14 January 2018

Rescuers earlier this week recovered one body from the sea and two body from the ship after the Iranian vessel collided with the Chinese freight ship, resulting in it being set on fire. The tanker was carrying a cargo of almost 1 million barrels of condensate, a type of gassy, ultra-light oil that readily evaporates or burns off in a fire, reducing the chance of a major oil spill.

A spokesman for the Iranian rescue team dispatched to Shanghai, told Iran's state broadcaster that information from members of the Crystal crew suggested all the personnel on the Sanchi were killed in the first hour of the accident "due to the explosion and the release of gas". It showed video of a tower of billowing black smoke and flames on the surface of the water.

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But the tanker, called the Sanchi, has now sunk after being adrift and on fire for a week, Chinese media reported.

Three of the bodies of the more than 30 crew aboard have been recovered.

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Meanwhile, China's State Oceanic Administration is expanding the range of its monitoring to "quickly ascertain the spread and drift of overflowing oil" from the boat.

Ali Larijani noted the nation's concerns over the unknown fate of the still missing crew members on board of an Iranian oil tanker which collided with a freighter off China's east coast on January 6, and ordered the Parliament's National Security Commission to pursue the case through various mechanisms. The Hong Kong-based vessel's 21 crew members were evacuated.

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Burning Iranian oil tanker sinks in Japanese waters