Iranian tanker still ablaze off China's coast

Three days after tragic collision, Chinese authorities are still struggling to contain the incident.

Oil tanker Sanchi on fire off the coast of China
Oil tanker Sanchi on fire off the coast of China

An Iranian oil tanker that collided with a Chinese freight ship in the East China Sea on Saturday evening was still on fire on Tuesday morning, according to the Chinese government.

Bad weather conditions have slowed efforts to control the blaze and search for the 31 remaining crew members on the tanker after a body was found on Monday, the Ministry of Transport said in a statement.

Concerns have been mounting that the tanker could explode and sink, while 13 search and rescue vessels scour a 900 square nautical mile area for the crew.

The Panamanian flagged 274 metre tanker Sanchi, run by Iran’s major oil shipping operator, the National Iranian Tanker Company, collided with the CF Crystal, transporting grain from the United States, around 160 nautical miles off China’s coast near Shanghai and the mouth of the Yangtze River Delta.

The Sanchi, on its way to South Korea, was carrying 136,000 metric tonnes or close to 1 million barrels of condensate, an ultra-light crude oil, that becomes volatile when exposed to air and water.

The size of the oil spill and the extent of the environmental impact are not yet known.

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