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12 January 2018, 10:05 | Erica Roy
Iran Navy Commandos in China to Join Oil Tanker Rescue Efforts
The ministry has sent 12 rescue ships to search for the 31 remaining tanker crew members and to extinguish the fire.
Rabiei as the head of the committee to follow-up the case of the tanker accident off Chinese coast.
A stricken Iranian oil tanker drifted into Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) on Wednesday afternoon, a spokesman for the Japan Coast Guard said Friday, as strong winds pushed the burning ship away from the Chinese coast.
The ship, which was heading to South Korea, reportedly had one million barrels of condensate at the time of the collision.
State broadcaster China Central Television, citing Chinese officials, said none of the 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis who have been missing since the collision late Saturday had been found as of 8 a.m. Monday.
The 21 Chinese crew members of the CF Crystal vessel, which had been carrying grain from the United States, were rescued.
The cause of the collision and damage to the tanker were not clear.
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.
The company insists the engine room is "not directly affected by the fire" and says it is "likely" rescuers will find survivors.
By comparison, the Exxon Valdez was carrying 1.26 million barrels of crude oil when it spilled 260,000 barrels into Prince William Sound off Alaska in 1989, badly damaging local ecology and the area's fishing-based economy.
An oil slick has spread out from the Iranian tanker at a radius of at least a half-mile.
The Sanchi's own fuel that leaked during the collision will be more hard to clean, officials said.
Without offering specifics, the Iranian government said it invited six world countries to join the response operations under way off the eastern coast of China.
The official said the tanker was owned by the National Iranian Tanker Co. and had been rented by a South Korean company, Hanwha Total Co. The shipment, destined for Panama, was worth around $60 million.
"We have no information on their fate", he said Sunday.
Chinese media has shared footage of oil tanker Sanchi puffing black clouds of smoke as rescue boats try to douse the flames.
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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