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Iran Criticizes China for Procrastinating Fight against Oil Tanker Fire

10 January 2018 16:38

A spokesman for the National Iranian Tanker Co. (NITC) complained about serious action by Chinese authorities to extinguish the fire at an Iranian oil tanker that has been burning for four days in the East China Sea.

“It seems that the Chinese deliberately don’t carry out any serious operation to extinguish the fire at the Iranian ship and one of the probabilities is that the Chinese are waiting for the gas condensates cargo of the Iranian oil tanker to burn out,” Captain Mohsem Bahrami was quoted by the Iranian media as saying on Tuesday evening.

He said that despite deployment of a number of Chinese oil skimmer ships in the region no serious action has been made to put out the fire, adding that the skimmer ships are only moving around the Iranian tanker.

Bahrami said that Iran has struck an agreement with a Japanese company to rapidly start operations to extinguish the fire, adding, “We are even ready to send a number of crews from Iran to speed up the operations.”

Bahrami had earlier said that rescuers would “likely” find survivors as “the engine room is not directly affected by the fire and is about 14 meters (yards) under water.” He added, “There is still hope”.

The body of one of the 32 crewmen has been recovered, while the other 31 are missing.

The tanker was carrying 136,000 metric tons (nearly 1 million barrels) of condensate when it collided with the Hong Kong-registered freighter CF Crystal. The 21 members of the Crystal’s all-Chinese crew were rescued.

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