Iran minister: Chinese spared no effort to extinguish tanker fire

IRNA – Iran’s Minister of Cooperative, Labor and Social Welfare Ali Rabiei dismissed rumors that the Chinese were sluggish in putting out the fire on Iranian oil tanker Sanchi, saying that Chinese did their best in this respect.

Rabiei, who led a special committee to investigate the incident, said at the end of the closing meeting of the committee in Shanghai that Chinese did all within their power but they failed to control fire due to its scale and gas condensate consignment aboard the tanker.

He further noted that the issue will be pursued seriously and black box of the vessel will be examined carefully to revive Iran’s rights in this regard.

An Iranian tanker carrying gas condensates collided with a Chinese freight ship off east coast of China on January 6, and all the 32 crew members went missing. Three bodies were later found during a rescue operation.

The 30 Iranians and the two Bangladeshi sailors on board the tanker were unfortunately killed due to inhaling toxic gases and the huge size of the fire which engulfed the tanker since the onset of the tragic incident, Head of Ports and Maritime Organization Mohammad Rastad told the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on Sunday morning.

Noting that the tanker was carrying 11,510 tons of gas condensates, 1,956 tons of mazut and 118 tons of diesel, the Iranian labor minister earlier said that the explosion was so grave that the heat of the body of the tanker reached 900 degrees in some parts making it impossible to enter the ship.