Iran holds out hope for survivors on burning oil tanker

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

Iran Navy Commandos in China to Join Oil Tanker Rescue Efforts

Thirty Iranian and two Bangladeshi sailors were onboard during the catastrophic collision.

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

An oil tanker that collided with a freighter off China's east coast is still on fire as firefighting and search efforts for the tanker's missing crew members continue.

The Sanchi tanker, carrying 136,000 tonnes of Iranian oil worth $60m (£44m), caught fire after the crash and has been burning for almost 24 hours.

The tanker, run by Iran's top oil shipping operator National Iranian Tanker, hit the CF Crystal vessel that was carrying grain from the United States last Saturday.

"What we are concerned about at this moment is the bunker fuel, which could contaminate water if (the ship) sinks", the ministry official said.

It is the second crash by an Iranian oil tanker to take place in 18 months, after an Iranian supertanker crashed with a container ship in the Singapore Strait back in July 2016.

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The tanker had been carrying 136,000 tonnes of condensate - an ultra-light form of crude oil - to South Korea when it collided with the CF Crystal freighter, which is registered in Hong Kong.

South Korea has also sent a coastguard ship and a helicopter to aid the relief effort.

Iran's Shana news agency reported that the Sanchi was managed by the National Iranian Tanker Company and that its cargo was worth around $60 million. South Korean coast guard official Kwon Yong-deok told The Associated Press on Monday that much of the light, gassy condensate from the Sanchi may have evaporated or burned immediately, unlike the thick crude that gushed out of the Valdez.

"The cargo is still on fire, so it is hard to figure out if oil is being spilled".

Cleanup and rescue ships have faced toxic fumes, rain and windy conditions as they scrambled to find survivors and avoid a massive oil slick since Saturday's incident. "But we are looking at a lot of oil here and the water depth in that area is only about 50m to 60m, so in the immediate area it will have a dramatic impact".

But China's transport ministry said in a statement that as of 6:00 pm Tuesday, "no large-scale oil spills were found on the sea surface" where the search is being conducted around the stricken vessel, which continued to burn.

According to recent reports, the ship is still on fire.

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