Burning Iranian tanker explodes and sinks, 'no hope of finding crew alive'

Burning Iranian tanker explodes and sinks, 'no hope of finding crew alive'

An Iranian oil tanker has sunk after burning for more than a week following a collision on January 6 in the East China Sea, Chinese state media said on Sunday, adding that large amounts of oil are burning in the surrounding waters.

The stricken tanker, called the Sanchi, which had been adrift and on fire for more than a week following the accident with another vessel in the East China Sea, had "suddenly ignited" around 12pm local time, China Central Television said.

The head of Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran, Mohammad Rastad, has said that there is no hope to find the missing crew members, ISNA reported.

The ship, which had a crew of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis, has been ablaze since the collision on January 6 off China's coast near Shanghai.

Two bodies of crew members and the black box were found after four marine salvage workers from the Shanghai Salvage Bureau boarding on oil tanker SANCHI off the coast of Shanghai on January 13, according to the Wechat account of China's Ministry of Transport.

It remains unclear if there has been a significant oil leak into the sea.

While China's search and rescue teams have recovered three bodies so far, a group of Iranian naval commandos have been dispatched to the crash site for rescue operation, waiting for safe conditions to take action.

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