Explosion risk for oil tanker ablaze off China: authorities

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PV International Desk : An Iranian oil tanker ablaze off the Chinese coast is at risk of exploding or sinking, authorities said Monday, as they reported there was no sign of survivors 36 hours after the vessel erupted in flames.

The huge fire still raged around the stricken ship, which had been carrying 136,000 tonnes of light crude oil, with thick black smoke billowing from the vessel and the surrounding sea.

Rescuers attempting to reach the crew of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis were being beaten back by toxic clouds, China’s transportation ministry said.

The Panamanian-flagged 274-metre (899-foot) tanker Sanchi is “in danger of exploding or sinking”, the ministry said.

State broadcaster CCTV posted a video on Twitter showing the fire seemingly under control as a second vessel sprayed it with a water cannon.

Rescuers had recovered one unidentified body as of Monday afternoon, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said during a regular press briefing.

“Conditions… are not that favourable for search and rescue work,” he said, adding that “we are also investigating how to prevent any secondary disaster.”