January 15, The Iran Project – The tragic fate of sailors aboard an ill-fated Iranian oil tanker that had been burning near China’s eastern coast for a week has been sealed. Iranian officials say the vessel has fully sunk, and that available evidence indicates that all crew members died soon after it collided with another vessel and a powerful blast ensued.
Iranian oil tanker Sanchi caught fire last Saturday night after it collided with the CF Crystal, a Hong Kong-registered bulk freighter carrying wheat from the US, about 160 nautical miles east of the Yangtze estuary.
It had been burning ever since despite international rescue efforts. Those efforts were hampered because of the scale of the fire and heat. The tanker was carrying 136,000 metric tons (nearly one million barrels) of condensate, a type of ultra-light oil, which kept on exploding.
Thirty-two crew members were on board, comprising 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis.
Several top Iranian officials including Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei have issued messages of condolence over the bitter and heartrending deadly incident.
In a message on Sunday, Ayatollah Khamenei offered condolences to the bereaved families of the 32 crew members of the Iranian oil tanker who lost their lives in the “calamitous and regrettable” incident.
The Leader said the sailors sacrificed their lives as they were fulfilling their duty for their country.
Iranian cabinet of ministers on Sunday declared Monday January 15 as the day of public mourning for the Iranian crew members of Sanchi oil tanker in Chinese waters, as well.
On Jan 13, Iran called on Chinese and Japanese armies to lend their help in rescuing the missing Iranian crew on board of an oil tanker ‘Sanchi’.
Meanwhile, according to the Shanghai Maritime Search and Rescue Center, the Chinese rescuers also managed to retrieved the oil tanker’s voyage data recorder (VDR), which stores important data on a ship.