Two bodies recovered from burning oil tanker adrift off China coast


The tanker was carrying a cargo of almost 1 million barrels of condensate, a type of gassy, ultra-light oil that readily evaporates or burns off in a fire, reducing the chance of a major oil spill.

Another body suspected to be from the ship was recovered from the sea earlier this week, leaving 29 crew members still unaccounted for. A new report from the Wall Street Journal also notes that the Chinese freighter and the Iranian tanker had stopped transmitting their locations to naval tracking systems prior to the crash.

However, fears still remain that the oil tanker could explode at any moment due to the high volatility of the condensate oil, likely killing all the crew members on board.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif by phone that "as long as there is 1% hope, China will continue to make 100% effort".

China has sent salvage ships and vessels to eliminate the fuel spill, while South Korea has sent a vessel and a helicopter to search for missing sailors. The US Navy has also provided support.

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As of Tuesday (9 January), search efforts were focused on a 900 square mile section of the East China Sea.

Chinese state media carried pictures of the tanker on fire with smoke plumes daytime Sunday.

The vessel, which was travelling from Iran to South Korea, crashed about 250 kilometers (160 nautical miles) off the coast near Shanghai and the mouth of the Yangtze River Delta on January 6.

Steamship Mutual P&I, which confirmed it covers the third-party liability for Sanchi, has not prepared comment on the collision or the resulting fire, saying the incident would be treated as standard and that ITOPF's evaluation would be used in its technical assessment of the investigation.

In August 2016, one of its tankers collided with a Swiss container ship in the Singapore Strait, damaging both ships but causing no injuries or oil spill.