Oil that reached islands in the Amami chain earlier this month is highly likely to have come from the sunken Iranian tanker Sanchi, the Japan Coast Guard said on Thursday.

Samples of oily matter that washed up on Feb. 8 on the shores of Okinoerabu and Yoron islands were found to be linked to Sanchi's sinking, the coast guard said.

The Sanchi sank on Jan. 14 after colliding with a freighter on Jan. 6 in the world's worst oil tanker disaster in decades.