2 bodies recovered from burning oil tanker in China

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A burning Iranian oil tanker that had drifted into Japan's exclusive economic zone has sunk one week after it collided with another vessel, Chinese state television has said.

Four salvage workers boarded the board SANCHI at 8:37 am on January 13, and found two bodies on deck in a lifeboat.

On Sunday morning, the spread of fire to new oil condensate tanks of the vessel created blazes as high as 100 meters and increased temperature to 350 degrees Celsius (660 degrees Fahrenheit), making it impossible for the rescuers to even approach the burning ship. Authorities were concerned the ship could explode and sink but there was no word on Saturday on such a possibility.

The Sanchi had been carrying 136,000 tons - around 1 million barrels - of oil from Iran to South Korea when it collided with the Hong Kong-registered CF Crystal freighter in the East China Sea last weekend.

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Iranian officials now say all 32 crew members - 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis - on the tanker are dead. A third body had been recovered earlier in the waters nearby, Press TV said. The cause of the collision remains unclear and 29 crew members are still unaccounted for.

Intense flames, bad weather and poor visibility have all hampered rescue efforts.

The Chinese freighter had 21 crew members, all of whom were reported safe.

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