Report: NITC Still Hopes There Are Survivors on board Sanchi

Image Courtesy: Shanghai Salvage Bureau

National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) believes there might be survivors on board the company’s stricken oil tanker ablaze off China’s coast, the Associated Press reported citing an NITC spokesperson, Mohsen Bahrami.

Namely, the crew is likely to have found shelter in the ship’s engine room.

According to Bahrami, since the vessel’s engine room is not directly affected by the fire and is about 14 meters under water, there is still hope.

However, efforts to search the ship for potential survivors remain hampered as the fire accompanied by thick poisonous smoke continues burning.

The body of one of the 32 missing crew members has been recovered and handed over to the civil affairs department for identification.

Search for the remaining mariners continues.

NITC’s Managing Director Sirous Kianersi said that the found crewmember was wearing a life jacket which shows the crew has had enough time to use such equipment.

On Wednesday, the 14 rescue vessels deployed to the site had to retreat as an explosion was reported onboard.

Local authorities warned earlier that there is a danger of the ship exploding, breaking into half and sinking, resulting in a major oil spill.

NITC had downplayed the fears saying that the vessel is not likely to sink.

Based on the latest update from China’s Ministry of Transport, the burning tanker has drifted about 65 nautical miles south from the spot where it collided with CF Crystal on January 6.

The search and rescue efforts have been resumed today with no major change to report as to the status of the fire.

The ministry said that its firefighting ships had started spraying foam on the vessel in order to try to contain the fire and help cool off the vessel, nevertheless, the efforts haven’t achieved the desired result.

Sanchi is said to be covered by reinsurance provided by the International Group of Protection & Indemnity Clubs, according to Platts.

An investigation into the cause of the collision has been launched, the Iranian Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) said, adding that there are two black boxes on board the tanker.

South Korea, Japan along with the US Navy have joined the international search and rescue mission.

World Maritime News Staff

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