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Huge Oil Spill After Iranian Tanker Sinks In East China Sea

The burning Iranian oil tanker Sanchi is seen partially sunk in the East China Sea off the eastern coast of China on January 14.

Chinese ships are racing to clean up a massive oil spill after an Iranian tanker sank in the East China Sea.

Two ships sprayed chemical agents aimed at dissolving the oil, China Central Television reported on January 15.

The 120-square-kilometer oil slick is thought to be made up of heavy fuel that was used to power the Sanchi tanker, which was carrying 136,000 tons of ultralight crude oil from Iran.

The vessel sank on January 14, a week after it was set ablaze following a collision with a Chinese cargo ship near Shanghai.

Environmental activist group Greenpeace said that the explosion and sinking occurred in "an important [fish] spawning ground."

"This [clean-up] work is one of our focuses," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said. "It is also a priority area of our efforts. No one wants to see a large-scale secondary disaster."

He added that the cause of the accident was under investigation.

The Sanchi's crew of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis are all believed to have perished in the incident.

The crewmen of CF Crystal, which was carrying grain from the United States to China, were all rescued.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters