Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Exploding Iranian oil tanker drifts into Japan's economic zone

Exploding Iranian oil tanker drifts into Japan's economic zone

Iranian officials have criticised China's rescue efforts, but the Chinese transport ministry said Thursday that "terrible" weather conditions and toxic gases from the burning oil were hindering operations.

The ship, which has been ablaze for nearly a week since it collided with another vessel on Saturday night in the East China Sea, was about 300 km northwest of Sokkozaki on the island of Amami Oshima as of Thursday afternoon, a spokesman from the Coast Guard's 10th region based in Kagoshima said.

Amami Oshima is one of the northern islands in the Ryukyu islands chain that includes Okinawa.

Sanchi was carrying nearly one million barrels of highly flammable crude oil to South Korea with 32 crew members on board - 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis.

Earlier it was reported that the tanker SANCHI belonging to Iranian companies and sailing under the Panamanian flag, collided on 6 January with the Hong Kong bulk carrier CF CRYSTAL off the East coast of China on the evening of 6 January.

Euronews has gathered the despair of relatives: "We want global 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 worldwide community. see our loved ones soon ".

Japan said it had provided a patrol boat because the tanker was now in its exclusive economic zone, while Iran requested helicopters and planes to help put out the fire.

In this photo provided by Korea coast guard, the Panama-registered tanker Sanchi is seen ablaze after a collision with a Hong Kong-registered freighter off China's eastern coast on Sunday.

All are missing, but the body of a mariner suspected to be from the ship was recovered on Monday.

Twelve Iranian rescue workers had been brought to Shanghai to help and would join rescue work soon, Lu Kang, a spokesman from China's foreign ministry, told a regular briefing.

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