'No hope of survivors' as Iranian tanker ablaze off China coast sinks

Rescue ships work to extinguish the fire on the Panama-registered Sanchi tanker carrying Iranian oil which went ablaze after a collision with a Chinese freight ship in the East China Sea in this

A burning Iranian oil tanker that had drifted into Japan's exclusive economic zone has sunk one week after it collided with another vessel, Chinese state television has said. An anchorwoman on state television also offered condolences on behalf of the nation for the loss.

"There is no hope of finding survivors among the members of the crew", said Mohammad Rastad, spokesman for the Iranian rescue team dispatched to Shanghai, adding that two-thirds of the Iranian tanker was now under water.

"According to the latest news from the State Oceanic Administration, the "Sanchi" has sunk in its entirety", the official Xinhua news agency said.

They retrieved the ship's black box but had to evacuate because of the toxic smoke and high temperatures.

Iranian oil tanker Sanchi is seen engulfed in fire in the East China Sea, in this January 13, 2018 picture provided by Shanghai Maritime Search and Rescue Centre and released by China Daily.

All of its crew - 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis - have been confirmed as dead.

The Chinese freighter CF Crystal, which collided with the Panamanian-registered tanker, had 21 crew members, all of whom were reported safe.

The tanker, owned by National Iranian Tanker Co, was carrying nearly 1 million barrels of condensate, an ultra-light crude oil, to South Korea. The National Iranian Tanker Co. describes itself as operating the largest tanker fleet in the Middle East.

The tanker was carrying 136,000 tonnes of oil when the collision occurred.

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