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China's ministry of transport said rescue vessels withdrew to a safe distance after the explosion Wednesday on the Sanchi's bow, the latest setback in the multinational effort to extinguish the burning wreck.
The Sanchi was carrying nearly 1 million barrels of ultra-light oil when it collided Saturday evening with a freighter 257 kilometers off the coast and caught fire. Intense flames, bad weather and poor visibility have hampered rescue efforts.
Rescuers on Tuesday found a body believed to be a sailor from the Iranian-operated tanker, while a search continued for 31 other missing crew members.
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