Iranian oil tanker ablaze off China coast has sunk: state media

AFP-JIJI, AP

An Iranian oil tanker engulfed in flames has sunk eight days after a collision off the Chinese coast, state media said Sunday, with 29 crewmen still missing.

The tanker Sanchi, carrying 136,000 metric tons of light crude oil from Iran, had been ablaze since colliding with the CF Crystal, a Hong Kong-registered bulk freighter, on Jan. 6.

“According to the latest news from the State Oceanic Administration, the ‘Sanchi’ has sunk in its entirety,” the official Xinhua news agency said.

Meantime, Iranian state TV is quoting an official as saying there’s “no hope” of survival for sailors that went missing after the accident.

A report Sunday 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.”

The cause of the collision remains unclear. Three bodies have been recovered from the sea, leaving 29 crew members still unaccounted for. The crew was all Iranian expect for two Bangladeshis.

The CF Crystal had 21 crew members, all of whom were reported safe.