The Iranian Army Spokesman, Brigadier General Shahin Taqikhani said airborne commandos will start the extremely dangerous operation on the burning oil tanker if China provides them with a chopper.
Referring to the process of rescuing the seafarers on the Iranian oil tanker in the waters of China, Taqikhani told the Fars News Agency in a Farsi interview that after the tragic incident for the Iranian oil tanker and the seafarers, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s army immediately announced readiness for any assistance by sending capable people with special skills.
“To do this, it was necessary to make coordination with various organizations including the foreign ministry. A team of army’s special naval forces composed of 12 commandos, who have received special training for these conditions, have been deployed to China and they are now in Shanghai.”
He added that if the Chinese military gives the necessary instructions and provides the team with a copter, they will do their best to rappel into the tanker to help the seafarers.
Taqikhani also stressed that everyone knows this is a very difficult and dangerous task, but if helicopters are handed over by the Chinese army and they take the risk of taking this action, then the rangers may rappel from high altitudes.
“An official from Iran’s army also held a meeting with military attachés of China and Japan in Tehran Friday afternoon and voiced the concerns of Iranian families and called on them to accelerate the process of assisting,” he noted.
Taqikhani said the military attachés of China and Japan also announced their armies’ readiness for any kind of assistance saying that they have forwarded the request of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the authorities.
Dozens of seafarers are missing from an NITC tanker after it collided with a bulk carrier off Shanghai on Saturday evening.
The collision between the Panama-registered, 164,154 dwt, Sanchi, owned by Iranian tanker company NITC, and the Hong Kong-flagged 75,725 dwt bulker CF Crystal took place around 8 PM on Saturday around 160 km east of the Yangtze River, according to China’s Ministry of Transport.
The tanker Sanchi reportedly capsized and caught fire following the collision. The bodies of three crew members from the vessel have been found while the other 29 seafarers from the tanker remain missing. The tanker had a crew of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshi nationals.
The Sanchi was carrying 136,000 tonnes of oil condensate from Iran to Korea, while the bulker had a cargo of 64,000 tonnes of grain.