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Explosion risk for burning Iranian oil tanker off China coast

Press Trust of India  |  Beijing 

An Iranian tanker on fire for two days after colliding with a Chinese cargo ship off the coast of is at risk of exploding or sinking, authorities said today as rescuers recovered one body amid no sign of survival for 32 foreign crew members.

Rescuers recovered an unidentified body believed to be that of a missing crew member of Panamanian-flagged tanker 'Sanchi' is on for 31 other crew members, Chinese Foreign Ministry told a media briefing here.

Thirty-two crew members, including 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis, went missing after the tanker carrying 136,000 tonnes of condensate from to collided with a Hong Kong-registered bulk freighter and caught fire on Saturday in waters about 160 sea miles east of the Yangtze River's estuary.

Condensate is an ultra light version of It is highly toxic, low in density and considerably more explosive than regular

The huge fire still raged around the tanker with thick black smoke billowing from the vessel and the surrounding sea.

The 274-metre tanker Sanchi is "in danger of exploding or sinking", the ministry said.

Lu said sent several ships to the site, but the environment and conditions on the ground are not favourable.

About the concerns of a major he said, We also have dispatched cleaning vessel to the site. We are also investigating to prevent any secondary disaster."

The has tilted toward the right side after the collision. The 225-meter-long second vessel CF CRYSTAL, carrying 64,000 tonnes of grain, was partly damaged in the collision. It was owned by a Chinese shipping company and was travelling from the to Guangdong,

Asked how China plans to deal with issues related to compensation, he said the reason for the accident is yet to ascertained.

"Immediately after the accident happened, China started its rescue work and is trying to clean the waste," he said.

Chinese maritime authorities dispatched eight vessels, including three specialised cleansing vessels, for search and rescue operation.

After coordination by the China Maritime Search and Rescue Centre, dispatched a coast ship and a fixed-wing aircraft to assist in the search and rescue.

The US Navy also sent a military aircraft to help with the rescue efforts.

Environment experts have expressed fear that the accident could create a massive environmental disaster and kill off marine life across a wide area.

in a statement said it was "concerned about the potential environmental damage that could be caused by the 1 million barrels of on board."

According to reports, the collision has the potential to cause the worst such in decades.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, January 08 2018. 16:35 IST