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Oil tanker burning off China's coast liable to exploding

12 January 2018

The two other crew members are from Bangladesh.

Rabiei as the head of the committee to follow-up the case of the tanker accident off Chinese coast.

There is still hope of finding survivors after an Iranian oil tanker burst into flames following a collision in the East China Sea, the tanker's owners have said.

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

The ministry official said the authorities suspected the tanker caught fire as soon as it hit the freighter. The 21 members of the Crystal's all-Chinese crew were rescued.

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

Tanker Sanchi, run by oil shipping operator National Iranian Tanker Co, collided with a CF Crystal carrying grain from the United States about 160 nautical miles off China's coast near Shanghai on Saturday night.

Rescuers from China, South Korea, and Japan have been struggling to control the blaze and find survivors, if any.

But the size of the oil slick from the Sanchi - and the scale of the environmental toll - may be smaller.

By comparison, the Exxon Valdez was carrying 1.26 million barrels of crude oil when it spilled 260,000 barrels into Prince William Sound off Alaska in 1989.

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The Chinese transport ministry's announcement came after Iran's oil ministry news service Shana reported Monday that "it is unlikely that it [the tanker] will sink", though it mentioned that the tanker was still burning and was considered to be "at risk of exploding". He added the losses would be covered by an insurance company. The shipment, destined for Panama, was worth around $60 million.

An official in Iran's Oil Ministry, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters, said the tanker was owned by the National Iranian Tanker Co. and confirmed that 30 of the tanker's 32 crew members were Iranians. "We can not say all of them have died, because rescue teams are there and providing services".

Chinese media has shared footage of oil tanker Sanchi puffing black clouds of smoke as rescue boats try to douse the flames.

An NITC spokesperson had previously suggested China might be more concerned with stopping a major oil leak in waters important to their fishing industry than rushing to save crew members.

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Oil tanker burning off China's coast liable to exploding