A surveillance team of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) will attempt today to board the stricken Iranian tanker Sanchi, which remains ablaze since January 6, ISNA News agency informed citing Hadi Haghshenas, Deputy Managing Director of PMO.
The action is being taken as Iranian maritime authorities endeavor to find potential survivors of the ship’s 32 crew members.
The owner of the ship, National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), said earlier that there could be survivors on board the ship, as it is believed the crew members might have sought shelter in the ship’s engine room.
According to a company spokesperson, since the vessel’s engine room is not directly affected by the fire and is about 14 meters under water, there is still hope.
PMO’s head Mohammad Rastaad said that the main priority is to rescue the crew and that all activities are being undertaken with that in mind.
According to Rastaad, the organization has asked the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for assistance and called on China’s neighbours, namely Japan and South Korea, to deploy their rescue and firefighting assets to the scene.
Strong winds have pushed the ill-fated Iranian tanker away from the Chinese coast into Japan’s exclusive economic zone, Reuters informed citing a Japanese coast guard official.
The stricken tanker is said to be located about 300 km northwest of Sokkozaki on the island of Amami Oshima as of Thursday afternoon.
Chinese authorities have resumed firefighting operations at the scene of the burning oil tanker, including applying of foam, the country’s Ministry of Transport said in an update today.
The ministry reiterated warnings that due to the damages the ship’s hull suffered as a result of the fire and explosions on board, the ship remains to be in danger of further explosions and sinking.
World Maritime News Staff
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