Iranian oil tanker sinks after explosion shoots flames up to 1km high

Chinese rescuers find two bodies on burning oil tanker

There is "no hope of finding survivors" on a stricken Iranian oil tanker which has been burning off China's east coast for more than a week, officials have said.

Footage aired on China Central Television, filmed off a screen in the Shanghai Maritime Search and Rescue Centre, showed flames off the burning ship rising between 800 and 1000 metres.

The Sanchi was carrying 150,000 tons (nearly one million barrels) of light crude oil from Iran.

Meanwhile, China's State Oceanic Administration is expanding the range of its monitoring to "quickly ascertain the spread and drift of overflowing oil" from the boat.

Speaking on Sunday morning in a taskforce meeting of Chinese Crisis Committee held in the presence of Ali Rabiei President's Special Aide to Follow up Sanchi Oil Tanker Case, he said, "from the first hours of the blast, our rescue and relief teams started searching seafarers believed to be encompassed in the engine house of the tanker".

All 21 Chinese crew members of the Crystal, which was carrying grain from the U.S., have been rescued.

The cause of the collision remains unclear.

The crew was all Iranian expect for two Bangladeshis.

The Chinese freighter CF Crystal, which collided with the Panamanian-registered tanker, had 21 crew members, all of whom were reported safe. After that, the tanker, caught fire, with 32 people on board.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had told his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif by telephone that "as long as there is 1 percent of hope, China will continue to make 100 percent effort" to rescue and recover other members of the crew.

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