Iranian Oil Tanker Drifts Into Japanese Waters As Fires Rage On

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Concerns were growing that the tanker may explode and sink while a flotilla of 13 search and rescue vessels comb a 900-square-nautical-mile (3,100 sq km) area around the ship for the crew.

The press service of the Ministry of transport of the PRC announced that the Panamanian oil tanker SANCHI, which caught fire after a collision with a freighter in the East China sea, the explosion occurred.

The source said that the Sanchi, operated by the National Iranian Tanker Company, as well as the other vessel involved in the collision, CF Crystal, have the IG reinsurance cover of up to Dollars 7.8 billion each.

The Coast Guard has sent ships and aircraft to monitor the situation.

Photos on the Chinese Ministry of Transportation's microblog showed thick black smoke pouring from the ship on Thursday morning.

The extent of the environmental harm and size of the oil spill from the ship were not known, but the disaster has the potential to be the worst since 1991 when 260,000 tonnes of oil leaked off the Angolan coast.

The IMO leader expressed his support and sympathies to the missing seafarers and their families while commending those involved in search and rescue efforts.The 164,000 DWT Sanchi was headed to South Korea from Iran, and 75,000 DWT CF Crystal was bound for Guangdong, China, carrying 64,000 tonnes of grain from the United States.

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An official from South Korea's Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries was quoted in a Reuters report as saying the fire could last for weeks.

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.

China's Ministry of Transport and Maritime Safety would not comment when asked if the fire was out.

Bunker fuel is the dirtiest kind of oil, extremely toxic when spilled, though much less explosive. A new report from the Wall Street Journal also notes that the Chinese freighter and the Iranian tanker had stopped transmitting their locations to naval tracking systems prior to the crash. The body of a crew member was found on Monday in the water near the tanker.

The tanker was carrying almost 1 million barrels of condensate, a type of gassy, ultra-light oil, when it collided with the Hong Kong-registered freighter CF Crystal.

Euronews has gathered the despair of relatives: "We want worldwide aid for our children who are probably alive in the tanker - says a mother - help them, they are human beings who need help right away.We appeal to the global community. see our loved ones soon ".

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