The Iranian tanker Sanchin is believed to have more survivors aboard following Saturday’s collision with the Hong Kong-based freighter CF Crystal, according to a spokesman for the National Iranian Tanker Company.
Yesterday evening, National Iranian Tanker spokesman Mohsen Bahrami told reporters that “[s]ince the vessel’s engine room is not directly affected by the fire and is about 14 meters under water, there is still hope. We are persistently working to put out the fire and rescue possible survivors.”
As of this morning, there are still 31 members of the 32-person crew on the Sanchin still missing, and the sole recovered body has been taken to Shanghai to be identified. All 20 members of the CF Crystal’s crew were rescued.
Mahmoud Abuli Ghasemabadi, the brother of one of the missing crewmembers, told reporters he is hopeful that his brother will be rescued. Ghasemabadi also called for any outside assistance, asking “countries that are in that region and can offer any assistance to help us deal with this situation as soon as possible.”
The cause of the collision, which took place in the East China Sea roughly 150 miles from the coast of Shanghai, remains unclear. The Panama-registered Sanchin was carrying 150,000 tons (nearly 1 million barrels) of condensate, an ultra-light oil. In a statement to the Associated Press, Hanwha Total Co. acknowledged that it had contracted the Sanchin to import Iranian condensate to South Korea.
This is the second collision by a ship in National Iranian Tanker Company’s fleet in the last 18 months – in August 2016, one of its tankers collided with a Swiss container ship in the Singapore Strait. No injuries or spills were reported in that incident.