Iranian oil tanker inferno flares up again

Tasnim – As hopes are fading for the rescue of people on board an Iranian oil tanker that caught fire last week following a crash in the East China Sea, flames spread to fuel tanks in the port side of the vessel on Sunday, flaring up the hellish fire and hindering rescue operation.

The spread of fire to new oil condensate tanks on Sunday morning created blazes as high as 100 meters and increased temperature to 350 degrees Celsius (660 degrees Fahrenheit), making it impossible for the rescuers to even approach the burning ship.

The unbearable heat, poisonous gas and heavy smoke has forced the rescue and fire-fighting vessels to stay at a long distance from the oil tanker.

Sanchi, with 32 people on board, including 30 Iranians, collided with a Chinese freight ship in the East China Sea on January 6 and has been burning for several days.

While China’s search and rescue teams have recovered three bodies so far, a group of Iranian naval commandos have been dispatched to the crash site for rescue operation, waiting for safe conditions to take action.

The Panama-registered tanker was carrying 136,000 tons of condensate, an ultra-light crude that is highly flammable, to South Korea.