Iran calls on S. Korea to join firefighting efforts on stricken oil tanker

SHANA – Iran has requested South Korea to join efforts to tame a blaze that has been burning an Iranian oil tanker off Japanese economic zone.

Ali Rabiei, Iranian minister of labor who is tasked with leading a committee to investigate the stricken Sanchi oil tanker’s case, said, “Today, we will ask South Korea to contribute to the search and firefighting efforts.”

He added that Japan has indicated readiness to join rescue operations on the tanker which carried nearly a million barrels of gas condensate to South Korea.

Rabiei further said that 5,000 tons of foam is needed for cooling the tanker down which will be carried by two vessels to the tanker.

The stricken Iranian oil tanker has now drifted into Japan’s economic zone and continuous explosions hamper rescue efforts.

The ship has been ablaze for almost a week since it collided with another vessel on Saturday night in the East China Sea, was about 286 km (178 miles) northwest of Sokkozaki on the island of Amami Oshima.

The tanker Sanchi, owned by NITC, Iran’s top oil shipping operator, was carrying 970,000 barrels of condensate, an ultra-light, highly flammable crude oil, to South Korea.