Iranian oil tanker sinks off China: report

A burning Iranian oil tanker that had drifted into Japan's exclusive economic zone has sunk after a collision on January 6, Chinese state television reports.

A burning Iranian oil tanker has sunk after a collision on January 6, Chinese state TV reports.

A burning Iranian oil tanker has sunk after a collision on January 6, Chinese state TV reports.

The stricken tanker, called the Sanchi, which had been adrift and on fire for more than a week following the accident with another vessel in the East China Sea, had "suddenly ignited" around noon local time on Sunday, China Central Television said.

"Currently it has already sunk," CCTV said, citing the Shanghai maritime search and rescue centre. It showed video of a tower of billowing black smoke and flames on the surface of the water.

China's State Oceanic Administration said because the hull of the ship had detonated, a large amount of oil in surrounding waters was on fire, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

The Administration said it would expand the scope of its monitoring and "quickly ascertain the spread and drift of overflowing oil" from the wrecked ship.

A Chinese salvage team on Saturday recovered two bodies from the tanker. Another body, presumed to be one of the Sanchi's sailors, was found on Monday and brought to Shanghai for identification.

The Sanchi's crew consisted of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis.

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

The tanker, owned by National Iranian Tanker Co, was carrying almost one million barrels of condensate, an ultra-light crude oil, to South Korea.

It collided with the CF Crystal, which was carrying grain from the United States, about 184km off China's coast near Shanghai.

CF Crysta had 21 crew members, all of whom were reported safe.

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