Officials play down fears of environmental disaster after vessel carrying 136,000 tonnes of crude oil goes down off China
Last modified on Sun 14 Jan 2018 14.32 GMT
An Iranian oil tanker has burst into flames and sunk, eight days after a collision with a cargo ship off the coast of China, according to state media.
A Tehran official said before news of the sinking that there was no hope of saving the 30 missing crewmen. Chinese officials have played down fears of a major environmental disaster.
The Sanchi, carrying 136,000 tonnes of light crude oil from Iran, had been in flames since colliding with the CF Crystal, a Hong Kong-registered bulk freighter, on 6 January.
At about midday on Sunday local time, the ship “suddenly ignited”, with the vessel burning fiercely and a pall of smoke about 800-1,000 metres high, China’s transport ministry said, releasing dramatic pictures showing the tanker obscured by thick black smoke.
The ship later sank, the official news agency Xinhua cited the State Oceanic Administration as saying.
“There is no hope of finding survivors among the members of the crew,” Mohammad Rastad, a spokesman for the Iranian rescue team dispatched to Shanghai, told Iran’s state broadcaster in Tehran before the tanker went down.
Rastad said information from members of the Crystal’s crew suggested all personnel on the Sanchi had been killed in the first hour of the accident “due to the explosion and the release of gas”.