Burning oil tanker sinks with all 32 crew members confirmed dead

Burning Iranian oil tanker image via AFP

Burning Iranian oil tanker image via AFP

China has recovered two bodies found in a lifeboat on the tanker and the oil tanker's black box.

An Iranian oil tanker that has been ablaze for nearly a week after colliding with another vessel in the East China Sea has finally sunk, Chinese state media reports.

"There is no hope of finding survivors among the members of the crew", Mohammad Rastad, spokesman for the Iranian rescue team dispatched to Shanghai, told Iran's state broadcaster in Tehran before the tanker went down. Rescuers stayed aboard less than 30 minutes but were able to recover the ship's data and video recordings, it said. The cause of the collision remains unclear and 29 crew members are still unaccounted for.

The Sanchi tanker has been ablaze since it collided with Hong Kong-registered freight ship CF Crystal, 185 miles off China's coast near Shanghai.

Intense flames, bad weather and poor visibility have all hampered rescue efforts.

In a Sunday telephone conversation with the Iranian Labor Minister Ali Rabei who is in China, Jahangiri called for closer coordination with China, South Korea and Japan to speed up the rescue operation at the site of the blazing Iranian oil tanker.

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

The Iranian ship had 32 mariners on board.

It's the second collision for a ship from the National Iranian Tanker Co.in less than a year and a half.

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