Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Burning oil tanker firm hopeful of survivors

Burning oil tanker firm hopeful of survivors

Chinese authorities battling to prevent an environmental disaster after a collision between an Iranian tanker and a cargo ship said on Wednesday no major oil spill has been detected, but 31 sailors remained missing.

Sanchi was carrying 1.36 lakh tons of condensate oil when it collided with CF Crystal, a Hong Kong-registered bulk freighter in waters about 160 nautical miles east of the Yangtze River estuary. One body suspected to be from the tanker crew was retrieved from the water this week.

He said that Chinese authorities turned down an offer from the Japanese Coast Guard to help, saying it would ask for help when needed.

The Sanchi tanker remains at risk of exploding and sinking due to spilled oil as the fire raged for a fifth day, China's Transport Ministry said in a statement yesterday.

The reports follow an explosion aboard the Sanchi, whose 32-member crew is still mostly missing.

"Contaminated air from fire and bad weather have increased difficulties of rescue work", the ministry said.

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"Since the vessel's engine room is not directly affected by the fire and is about [46 feet] underwater, there is still hope", spokesman Mohsen Bahrami told the Associated Press (AP).

The entire crew of the Panamanian-registered Sanchi - 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis - went missing after its collision with the Chinese freighter CF Crystal.

Operated by Iran's National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), the vessel was taking light crude oil condensate to South Korea.

Park said it's unlikely the oil will spread to South Korea at the moment because the tanker has moved 100 kilometers (62 miles) to the southeast.

The tanker hit a freight ship on Saturday night in the East China Sea and burst into flames after spilling oil.

"The problem is the ship's heavy bunker fuel", said Chauncey Naylor, a USA -based director of emergency response and training at Tyco Corp's oil-fire specialists Williams Fire & Hazard Control, which is not involved in the clean-up.

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