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Iranian Oil Tanker Sinks after Weeklong Fire

14 January 2018

An oil tanker burning in the East China Sea for more than a week has finally sunk, Chinese media say, BBC reports.

China Central Television said the Sanchi, which had drifted into Japan's exclusive economic zone, "suddenly ignited" around noon, with flames spreading from end to end, before sinking.

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The Panama-registered Sanchi tanker is shown burning on January 9 in the East China Sea.

The body of one crew member was found three or four miles from the tanker two days after the collision. But salvage workers were prevented from entering a living room on SANCHI's first floor as the inner temperature had reached 89 degrees Celcius.

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The Sanchi was carrying 136,000 tons of condensate, worth some $60 million, and bound for the Republic of Korea. A total of 32 crewmembers including 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis are missing.

All 21 Chinese crew members of the Crystal, which was carrying grain from the U.S., have been rescued.

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

He said that due to repeated explosions and gas leaks, rescue teams were unable to extinguish the fire on the vessel and recover the bodies.

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Iranian Oil Tanker Sinks after Weeklong Fire