Blazing Iranian oil tanker sinks with no sign of survivors

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The tanker that had been burning for more than a week sank on Sunday, the Chinese Transportation Ministry said.

The crew was all Iranian expect for two Bangladeshis.

An Iranian oil tanker has sunk after burning for more than a week following a collision on January 6 in the East China Sea, Chinese state media said on Sunday, adding that large amounts of oil were burning in the surrounding waters. "They burned to ashes while their families are wailing here!" said one woman, who did not give her name, to local media.

The cause of the collision remains unclear and 29 crew members are still unaccounted for.

Iran announced that all the ship's crew members were presumed dead, according to Iranian state media. That is equivalent to just under 1 million barrels, worth about $60 million, based on global crude oil prices.

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Intense flames, bad weather and poor visibility have all hampered rescue efforts.

The Iranian oil tanker sank around midday Sunday after the spread of fire to new oil condensate tanks created blazes as high as 100 meters and increased temperature to 350 degrees Celsius (660 degrees Fahrenheit). So far, only one body from the 32-person crew has been recovered. Shana said the oil had been purchased by South Korean customers.

Chinese rescuers recovered the black box of the boat and the device is now in the hands of specialists to analyze it and look for clues about what happened on the ship after the crash, said the CGTN television station.

The vessel is reported to have left a 10 square kilometre area contaminated with oil in the sea, but authorities say there was no major spill as much of the oil evaporated or burned off in the fire.

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