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Burning Iranian oil tanker sinks in Japanese waters

14 January 2018

Four salvage workers boarded the board SANCHI at 8:37 am on January 13, and found two bodies on deck in a lifeboat. A total of 32 crewmembers including 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis are missing.

The Sanchi, carrying 136,000 tons of light crude oil from Iran, has been in flames since colliding with the CF Crystal, a Hong Kong-registered bulk freighter, some 300 kilometers east of Shanghai.

There are 13 vessels near where the collision took place, including two Japanese ships and a South Korean one.

The Iranian oil tanker sank around midday Sunday after the spread of fire to new oil condensate tanks created blazes as high as 100 meters and increased temperature to 350 degrees Celsius (660 degrees Fahrenheit).

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The network said rescuers were prevented from entering the crew living quarters by temperatures as high as 192 degrees.

Dramatic photos of the scene showed tall flames raging on board the ship, which was carrying nearly a million barrels of crude oil.

The salvage team also recovered the voyage data recorder, or black box, from the bridge, before leaving the vessel less than half an hour after boarding because the wind had shifted and "thick toxic smoke" had complicated the operation.

Burning Iranian oil tanker sinks in Japanese waters