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South Korea says Sanchi could burn for month

Staff Writer | January 11, 2018
The stricken Iranian oil tanker in the East China Sea could burn for as long as one month, South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries told Reuters.
Sanchi burning
Shipping   The Sanchi was carrying 136,000 tons of condensate
Dozens of rescue boats battled strong winds, high waves and toxic fumes to comb a 900-square-nautical-mile (3,100-square-kilometer) area for 31 missing sailors and tame the fire, amid growing concerns the ship may explode or sink, Reuters reported.

“We believe flames would last for two weeks or a month considering previous cases of oil tank accidents,” said official Park Sung-dong.

“What we are concerned about at this moment is the bunker fuel, which could contaminate water if (the ship) sinks,” the ministry official said.

Aboard the ship were 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis. On Monday, officials said a body had been found in the sea and taken to Shanghai for identification, and confirmed that it was an Iranian crew.

The tanker Sanchi, run by Iran’s top oil shipping operator, National Iranian Tanker Company, collided on Saturday with the CF Crystal, carrying grain from the United States, about 160 nautical miles (300 km) off China’s coast near Shanghai.

The Sanchi was carrying 136,000 tons of condensate, an ultra-light crude that is highly flammable, to South Korea, equivalent to about 1 million barrels and worth about $60 million.