TEHRAN, Jan. 13 (Press Shia Agency) – Two more bodies of crew members from the Iranian oil tanker Sanchi were found and the ‘black box’ retrieved on Sat., according to the Shanghai Maritime Search and Rescue Center.
Four rescuers from China’s search and rescue team got on board the Iranian oil tanker ‘Sanchi’ at around 8:35 a.m. BJT on Saturday morning, and found the two bodies of crew member on a deck. The first body had been found on Monday, which leaves the number of the remaining crew members at 29.
The rescuers also retrieved the oil tanker’s voyage data recorder (VDR), which stores important data on a ship.
Iran’s Minister of Labor, Ali Rabiei, who was appointed by President Rouhani as the head of the committee to follow-up the Sanchi case, is currently in China’s crisis room to make the necessary coordination on search and rescue operations and meet up with the Chinese officials.
According to CEO of National Iranian Tanker Company, the Chinese rescuers were on board for only 30 minutes due to high levels of toxic gases and lack of oxygen.
Sirious Kiani went on to add that the Iranian Army commando forces, who have been situated at Port of Shanghai since Thursday, are ready to engage in search and rescue operations once the conditions are right.
He added that the identities of the two found bodies are as of yet unknown.
Due to strong winds and toxic gases, it was impossible to have more rescuers on deck, Kiani said, adding that the forces will once again board the still ablaze tanker to continue with the operations.
The Panama-registered Iranian oil tanker, Sanchi, with 32 crew members on board, caught on fire after colliding with a Hong Kong cargo ship on Jan. 6, 160 nautical miles (296 km) from China’s east coast.
The Sanchi was carrying 136,000 tons of condensate, worth some $60 million, and bound for the Republic of Korea.