TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iran’s Army Spokesman Brigadier General Shahin Taqikhani said the country has asked the Chinese and Japanese armies to help rescue the crew members of an Iranian oil tanker that has been burning since last Saturday off the coast of China.
The Iranian Army’s request for the Chinese and Japanese help was made at a meeting between the head of the Army’s Foreign Relations Department and the military attachés of the two countries in Tehran on Friday evening, Brigadier General Taqikhani said.
In the meeting, both military attachés of Japan and China made assurances that they will inform their commanders in their respective countries as soon as possible, the Army’s spokesman said.
He further emphasized that a special operations team from the Iranian Navy, including the Green Beret commandos, have been stationed at the Shanghai port and are waiting for the Chinese army’s equipment to participate in a heliborne operation to save possible survivors of the incident.
Iranian oil tanker ‘Sanchi’ which collided with a Chinese freight ship in the East China Sea on January 6 is still on fire after seven days.
Rescuers from China, South Korea, and Japan have been struggling to control the blaze and find survivors, if any.
The Panama-registered tanker was carrying 136,000 tons of condensate, an ultra-light crude that is highly flammable and to South Korea, equivalent to about 1 million barrels and worth about $60 million.
Bad weather at the sea has made the rescue and cleanup efforts difficult.
On Wednesday, Reuters quoted South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries as saying that the stricken oil tanker could burn for as long as one month.