Iran oil tanker explodes, sinks off China with no survivors

Iranian oil tanker Sanchi is seen engulfed in fire in the East China Sea, in this January 13, 2018 picture provided by Shanghai Maritime Search and Rescue Centre and released by China Daily. China Daily via REUTERS Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/no-survivors-as-iranian-tanker-sinks-engulfed-in-flames-9860438
Iranian oil tanker Sanchi is seen engulfed in fire in the East China Sea, in this January 13, 2018 picture provided by Shanghai Maritime Search and Rescue Centre and released by China Daily. China Daily via REUTERS

A burning Iranian oil tanker exploded and sank Sunday after more than a week listing off the coast of China, as an Iranian official acknowledged there was “no hope” of missing sailors surviving the disaster.

The collision and disaster of the Sanchi, which carried 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis, had transfixed an Iran still reeling from days of protests and unrest that swept the country at the start of the year.

Families of the sailors wept and screamed at the headquarters of the National Iranian Tanker Co. in Tehran, the private company that owns the Sanchi. Some needed to be taken by ambulance to nearby hospitals as they were so overwhelmed by the news.

“Thirty-two people died without a funeral and without coffins! They burned to ashes while their families were wailing here!” cried out one woman who didn’t give her name. The government “has come after 10 days to sympathize with them? What sympathy are you talking about?”

State TV earlier quoted Mahmoud Rastad, the chief of Iran’s maritime agency, as saying: “There is no hope of finding survivors among the (missing) 29 members of the crew.”

Iranian Tanker Company, in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018. The burning Iranian tanker listing for days off the coast of China after a collision with another vessel sank Sunday, with an Iranian official saying there was "no hope" of survival for the 29 missing sailors onboard. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Friends and colleagues of the deceased Iranian seafarers aboard a tanker that sank off the coast of China weep at the headquarters of National Iranian Tanker Company, in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018. The burning Iranian tanker listing for days off the coast of China after a collision with another vessel sank Sunday, with an Iranian official saying there was “no hope” of survival for the 29 missing sailors onboard. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

President Hassan Rouhani expressed his condolences and called on relevant government agencies to investigate the tragedy and take any necessary legal measures, according to state TV. The government also announced Monday as a nationwide day of public mourning over the disaster.

The cause of the Jan. 6 collision between the Sanchi and the Chinese freighter CF Crystal, 257 kilometers (160 miles) off the coast of Shanghai, remains unclear. The CF Crystal had 21 crew members, all of whom were reported safe.

But the Sanchi, carrying nearly 1 million barrels of a gassy, ultra-light oil bound for South Korea, burst into flames. Chinese officials blamed poor weather for complicating their rescue efforts. Thirteen ships, including one from South Korea and two from Japan, engaged in the rescue and cleanup effort Saturday, spraying foam in an effort to extinguish the fire.

But around noon Sunday, Chinese state media reported that a large explosion shook the Sanchi, its hull and superstructure completely stripped of paint by the flames. The ship then sank into the sea.

The Chinese say the ship left a 10-square-kilometer (3.8-square-mile) area contaminated with oil. However, the condensate oil the ship was carrying readily evaporates or burns off in a fire, reducing the chance of a major oil spill.

Chinese state media also said the ship’s voice data recorder, which functions like “black boxes” on aircraft, had been recovered. Three bodies have been recovered from the sea, leaving 29 crew members still unaccounted for.

The tanker has operated under five different names since it was built in 2008, according to the U.N.-run International Maritime Organization. The National Iranian Tanker Co. describes itself as operating the largest tanker fleet in the Middle East.

It’s the second collision for a ship from the National Iranian Tanker Co. in less than a year and a half. In August 2016, one of its tankers collided with a Swiss container ship in the Singapore Strait, damaging both ships but causing no injuries or oil spill.

 

Associated Press

  • Arzna

    I Guess The Iranian Revolutionary guards and their Quds subsidiary are good at saving dictators but not their own people

  • The Naked Prey

    The West is likely to explode with no survivors. Our armies keep losing to much smaller and poorly equipped forces, while Trump is searching the arsenal for usable “tactical” nuclear weapons. Rome, Byzantine, Ottoman, the British…they all came and went. We are living in such a time. US/Israel/UK/France/Saudi Empire is on the way out the door. What comes next? Will it come back through the window, or will Russian, Chinese, and Persian empires rise to take its place?

    • master09

      Watch out for south Lebanon, that has to be 3to 1 odds. Lol

      • The Naked Prey

        I should also point out that towards the end of the Roman Empire, the Roman Legions would no longer fight – instead, the Empire would hire barbarians, the proxy armies of that time, to fight the wars in its stead. There are no armies remaining in the West which will fight real wars, be it in Syria, Iran, Russia, Korea, South Lebanon or anywhere. They would like to militarize the EU structure in part for this reason.

        Western military actions are limited to opposing forces which have an extreme deficit in technology and military experience, and this gap is everywhere shrinking, rather than growing, thanks to the rising players arming various parties with the latest equipment they have available. The recent US-lead drone attack in Syria against Russia is likely to result in Russia making high tech and state-of-the-art intel available to the various anti-western parties in the region, particularly all of the proxies under the Iranian hegemony, including in Lebanon.

        • Rascal

          You are an Iranian living in the West from what I gather of your opinions? If you were in Iran you would not be legally allowed to visit this website (and so many others) and would risk jail for even commenting. God bless the West for freedom and pity the Iranian people for being forced to live under unfair religious dictatorship. Are you not lucky to not have to live that way?

          • Hind Abyad

            God bless the West and the New Nazi Israel.
            I have never seen Nazis in my life time.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDrypeKJrAY

          • Y K

            This Nazi degenerate claims to be a “White European” living on a “fat military pension”. No, I shit you not. 🙂

    • Rascal

      “The West is likely to explode with no survivors.”
      Sounds like wishful thinking. The armies in the West are not losing to smaller armies. Iraq could have been successful much sooner if sneaking, lying Iran did not turn it into a sectarian wasteland of religious BS. Other than that Islamic tribal mentality is more primitive and uneducated than the West considered. There is still a lot of evolving yet before the Middle East is to overcome thousands of years of sectarian warfare. And maybe they will always be unsuccessful.

      “US/Israel/UK/France/Saudi Empire is on the way out the door. ”
      Again more wishful thinking. Can I suggest you leave for a sh*t hole of your choosing, think of it as getting off the boat before it sinks in your opinion. But I am sure you would miss uncensored and blocked internet that your dream countries provide.

      “Russian, Chinese, and Persian empires rise to take its place?”
      All these countries you mention are in much worse shape socially and economically than any Western country, especially Iran which is socially and legally retarded with Islamic nonsense and heading for total economic collapse thanks to overtly corrupt mullahs and the head Ayatollah dictator. Pity the people of Iran who are forced to live that way. No wonder they try to protest so much even at risk of being killed or arrested by the IRGC/Basij.

      • Y K

        ‘ “The West is likely to explode with no survivors.”
        Sounds like wishful thinking.’

        Sounds like a demented Nazi Russia Today troll. 🙂