Iranian Oil Tanker sinking in East China Sea, crew feared dead

A rescue ship works to extinguish the fire on the stricken Iranian oil tanker Sanchi in the East China Sea

A rescue ship works to extinguish the fire on the stricken Iranian oil tanker Sanchi in the East China Sea

The bodies were found on the lifeboat deck of the Sanchi on Saturday morning, state broadcaster CCTV said.

An Iranian oil tanker burst into flames from end to end and sank Sunday, eight days after a collision with a cargo ship off China, state media said.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had told his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif by telephone that "as long as there is 1 percent of hope, China will continue to make 100 percent effort" to rescue and recover other members of the crew.

The cause of the collision, 160 miles off Shanghai, remains unclear. The crew, comprised of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis, died due to the blast and the release of toxic gas, he said.

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

Footage of the rescue showed parts of the Sanchi still aflame, its hull and superstructure completely stripped of paint.

The Sanchi was carrying 150,000 tons (nearly one million barrels) of light crude oil from Iran.

Two bodies of crew members and the black box were found after four marine salvage workers from the Shanghai Salvage Bureau boarding on oil tanker SANCHI off the coast of Shanghai on January 13, according to the Wechat account of China's Ministry of Transport.

The tanker has operated under five different names since it was built in 2008, according to the United Nations -run International Maritime Organization.

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