Iran holds out hope for survivors on burning oil tanker

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Earlier it was reported that the tanker SANCHI belonging to Iranian companies and sailing under the Panamanian flag, collided on 6 January with the Hong Kong bulk carrier CF CRYSTAL off the East coast of China on the evening of 6 January.

"If it had not been for an explosion this morning, maybe the fire would have been extinguished by now", said Hadi Haghshenas, deputy director for Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization, in an interview on January 12 with Iranian state broadcaster IRIB.

Chinese CCTV says the tanker has drifted 25 miles south over the past two days due to high winds.

Sanchi was carrying nearly one million barrels of highly flammable crude oil to South Korea with 32 crew members on board - 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis. On Tuesday (9 January) NITC reportedly told Bloomberg that some of Sanchi's 31 missing crew members who remain missing could still be alive in the tanker's engineroom, which lies some 14 m below the waterline and "is not directly affected by the fire".

The blast happened on board the tanker in the afternoon after rescue crews were dousing the ship with foam in an attempt to put out the fire, China's Transport Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Sanchi was carrying 136,000 tonnes of condensate, an ultra-light crude oil that becomes highly volatile when exposed to air and water, to South Korea.

"We can't grasp the level of oil contamination at this moment".

Schoolgirl declares that man with scissors cut her hijab
The second attack happened after Khawlah, her brother and a group of children went to cross the light at Bay Mills Blvd. There has been no word on if the girl was injured during the attacks. "It's just not Canada", she said.

Previous statements from China's transport ministry have said the toxicity of the smoke and fierce heat generated by the burning ultra-light crude oil condensate carried by Sanchi (see photo above and video below) has hampered rescue workers, who have been forced to wear biohazard "protective suits, protective masks and [use] gas testing equipment".

According to the VesselsValue database, Sanchi is owned by the National Iranian Tanker Company and CF Crystal is owned by the Changhong Group HK Ltd. "The cargo is still on fire, so it is hard to figure out if oil is being spilled", Park Sung-dong, an official from South Korea's Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, told Reuters.

Bunker fuel is the dirtiest kind of oil, extremely toxic when spilled, though much less explosive.

Chinese officials have warned that the tanker could explode and sink, possibly triggering an environmental disaster. The body of a crew member was found on Monday in the water near the tanker.

The cause of the collision remains unclear.

The U.S. Navy joined the search and rescue efforts on Sunday, sending a military aircraft to the area, which spans 3,600 square nautical miles.

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