VP Urges Intensified Efforts to Rescue Sanchi Crew as Hopes Fade to Find Victims

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran has called for closer coordination with China, South Korea and Japan to rescue the crew of an Iranian oil tanker that caught fire last week following a crash in the East China Sea, while a Chinese official said all 32 people on board the vessel are feared dead.


In a Sunday telephone conversation with the Iranian Labor Minister Ali Rabei who is in China, Jahangiri called for closer coordination with China, South Korea and Japan to speed up the rescue operation at the site of the blazing Iranian oil tanker.

All political and logistical capacities of Iran should be mobilized to rescue the tanker crew, the vice president added.

He also called on the labor minister to pursue the process of efforts to ascertain the cause of the incident, as the black box of the vessel has been found.

Meanwhile, commander of the Chinese rescue teams has played down hopes about survival of the crew.

Speaking at a joint press conference with the Iranian labor minister on Sunday morning, the Chinese commander said all people on board the doomed tanker are feared dead, given the magnitude of the initial explosion in the crash.

Sanchi, with 32 people on board, including 30 Iranians, collided with a Chinese freight ship in the East China Sea on January 6 and has been burning ever since.

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.

While China’s search and rescue teams have recovered three bodies so far, a group of Iranian naval commandos have been dispatched to the crash site for rescue operation, waiting for safe conditions to take action.

The Panama-registered tanker was carrying 136,000 tons of condensate, an ultra-light crude that is highly flammable, to South Korea.

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