Thursday, September 21, 2023

All 29 Missing Iranian Seafarers Dead: Official

The burning Iranian oil tanker Sanchi has fully sunk in Eastern China after it flared up again Sunday morning, and all the 29 missing crew members are confirmed dead, according to Iranian officials.

Chief of the Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran, Mohammad Rastad, has confirmed that there is no hope of finding the missing seafarers.

Rastad, who is also the spokesman for the Iranian government’s delegation to China, said all Iranian seafarers have unfortunately died in the early hours of the explosions.

According to Rastad, the entire ship has already sunk and the Iranian commandos earlier deployed to save the sailors cannot recover the bodies.

A Chinese commander of the rescue operation also noted that there is no hope that any of the seafarers would be alive due to explosions and spread of toxic gases that were released in the early hours.

According to a Farsi report by the IRIB News Agency, the Chinese official also added that the recovered bodies also prove such an assessment.

Two of the three bodies already recovered are totally burnt, according to a top Iranian official.

The Chinese commander also added that the area around the ship was searched, but no one has gotten out of the vessel.

“We regret this and we did all we could during the past week. We ask the Iranian relief and rescue forces to return to the shore.”

With flames spreading to fuel tanks in the port side of the vessel on Sunday, the hopes faded to find the missing seafarers alive.

According to IRIB, the spread of fire to new oil condensate tanks created blazes as high as 800 to 900 metres and increased temperature to 350 degrees Celsius, making it impossible for the rescuers to even approach the burning ship.

The ship, run by Iran’s top oil shipping operator National Iranian Tanker Co, was carrying 136,000 tonnes of condensate, an ultra-light crude that is highly flammable, to South Korea. It was equivalent to about 1 million barrels, and worth around $76 million.

There were 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis working as crew aboard.

Three bodies were recovered from the sea earlier this week, leaving 29 crew members still unaccounted for.

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