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'No Hope' Of Finding Survivors From Burning Iranian Oil Tanker

The Chinese offshore supply ship Shen Qian Hao sprays foam on the burning oil tanker Shanchi at sea off the coast of eastern China on January 12.

Iranian officials say there is "no hope of finding survivors among the members of the crew" of an Iranian oil tanker that caught fire and exploded after a collision with a Chinese cargo ship in the East China Sea last week.

Mohammad Rastad, a spokesman for an Iranian rescue team dispatched to the area, made the announcement on January 14.

The ship, which had a crew of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis, has been ablaze since the collision on January 6 off China's coast near Shanghai.

The body of only one crew member has been recovered so far.

Rastad said two-thirds of the Iranian tanker was under water on January 14.

Late on January 12, China's Ministry of Transport reported that there had been a series of continuous explosions on board the ship, which had drifted to waters within Japan's exclusive economic zone.

Hadi Haghshenas, deputy director for Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization, said on January 12 that the fire would have been extinguished sooner if explosions had not complicated the work of emergency crews.

The tanker Sanchi, owned by Iran's top oil-shipping operator, National Iranian Tanker Co, was carrying almost 1 million barrels of condensate, an ultralight, highly flammable and explosive fuel, to South Korea.

It collided with the freighter CF Crystal that was carrying grain from the United States about 184 kilometers off China's coast.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and IRNA