Burning oil tanker sinks with all 32 crew members confirmed dead

The Sanchi on Saturday

The Sanchi on Saturday Shana News Agency

A burning Iranian oil tanker that had drifted into Japan's exclusive economic zone has sunk one week after it collided with another vessel, Chinese state television has said. Previously, rescuers had found the bodies of two sailors from the Iranian tanker SANCHI. The four team members tried to get to the ship's living quarters but were driven back by temperatures on the burning ship of around 89 degrees Celsius, Xinhua said.

Footage of the rescue showed parts of the Sanchi still aflame, its hull and superstructure completely stripped of paint.

The cause of the collision remains unclear. The first body had been found on Monday, which now leaves the number of the remaining crew members at 29. The crew was all Iranian except for two Bangladeshis.

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The Panama-registered tanker was carrying 136,000 tons of condensate, an ultra-light crude that is highly flammable, to South Korea.

Intense flames, bad weather and poor visibility have all hampered rescue efforts.

The tanker, called the Sanchi, which had been adrift in the East China Sea since January 7, "suddenly ignited" around 4 am GMT (9.30 am Indian Standard Time), China Central Television said.

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