TEHRAN, Jan. 21 (Press Shia) – Chinese ambassador to Iran Pang Sen called the public and the media to not heed rumors about the Sanchi incident and added that China will do its best to issue visas for the families of the deceased crew members for travelling to Shanghai.

Chinese Ambassador to Iran Pang Sen attended a press conference in Tehran on Sunday (January 21) to discuss the collision of Sanchi oil tanker where he offered his condolences to the bereaved families of the crew members and said “immediately after the collision, that resulted in 110,300 tons of gasoline spill and the death of 32 crew members, Chinese president and prime minister ordered for a special working group to carry out rescue operations.”

Pang Sen said that China called Iran, Japan and several other countries to help the rescue operations, adding that the oil tanker caught fire with flames reaching up to 1000 meters high and noxious gases that spread in the region.

The Chinese ambassador to Tehran stressed that the priority of China was to rescue the lives of the crew members and said “the rescue team that was dispatched to the area was able to retrieve a corpse from the waters and two dead bodies from the deck, along with the black box. China immediately informed Iranian officials such as the Iranian ambassador to Shanghai of the incident and provided specialist equipment for the twelve members of the Iranian rescue team that had traveled to the area.”

Pang Sen said that the Chinese embassy did its best to immediately issue visas for several Iranian rescue teams and delegations to China and added that Iranian officials such as FM Zarif expressed their gratitude to the Chinese government for making its best efforts to rescue the crew members.

“The tanker has sunk 115 meters to the bottom of the ocean. Special robots are going to be dispatched to the tanker and a special working group is to be formed in order to disclose the identities of the deceased sailors,” Pang Sen said, calling the families of the sailors to travel to Shanghai in order to help the identification processes.

The Chinese ambassador said that investigations will be postponed until the black box is opened and deciphered in the presence of Iranian officials and added “at present we have no information concerning the reasons for the incident. After the collision, the sailors of the Chinese freighter jumped into the ocean and were rescued by local fishing vessels.”

He said that when the Iranian Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri asked for a phone conversation with the Prime Minister of China, the Chinese Prime Minister was engaged in another conference, and consequently, he was unable to make the phone conversation.

Pang Sen called the public and the media to not heed the rumors spread by certain countries and media who benefit from straining the friendly relations between Iran and China and added “the collision occurred at 8:00 p.m., January 6 and the first Chinese rescue team was dispatched to the area at 4:40 a.m. the next day, which means that it took only 9 hours for China to react to the incident.”

He rejected the claim that China let the tanker burn in order to prevent environmental pollution, emphasizing that rescuing the lives of people has always been the top priority of the Chinese government.

In conclusion, the Chinese Ambassador to Tehran Pang Sen pointed that the tanker was heading for South Korea and added that any further information concerning the reasons for the collision and the subsequent decisions with respect to the tanker and the search for bodies will have to be put off until official investigations start and the black box is opened in the presence of officials from Iran, Panama and China.

BS/PR