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UPDATE 2-Stricken Iranian oil tanker drifts into Japan's economic zone - coast guard

Kitco News

* Iranian tanker Sanchi has drifted into Japan economic zone

* Tanker carrying condensate still burning after collision

* China declines offer of assistance from Japan for now


(Updates with CCTV report on Friday)

By Yuka Obayashi

TOKYO, Jan 12 (Reuters) - A stricken Iranian oil tanker drifted into Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) on Wednesday afternoon, a spokesman for Japan's Coast Guard told Reuters on Friday, as strong winds pushed the burning ship away from the Chinese coast.

The ship, which has been ablaze for almost a week since it collided with another vessel on Saturday night in the East China Sea, was about 300 km (186 miles) northwest of Sokkozaki on the island of Amami Oshima as of Thursday afternoon, a spokesman from the Coast Guard's 10th region based in Kagoshima said.

Amami Oshima is one of the northern islands in the Ryukyu islands chain that includes Okinawa.

The tanker Sanchi (IMO:9356608), owned by Iran's top oil shipping operator National Iranian Tanker Co, was carrying almost 1 million barrels of condensate, an ultra-light, highly flammable crude oil, to South Korea. It collided with the freighter CF Crystal (IMO:9497050) that was carrying grain from the United States about 160 nautical miles (184 km) off China's coast near Shanghai.

The spokesman said that Chinese authorities turned down an offer from the Japanese Coast Guard to help, saying it would ask for help when needed.


The Coast Guard has sent patrol boats and aircraft to monitor the situation, he said.

According to China's state-owned China Central Television(CCTV), the tanker drifted about 25 miles (40 kms) to the south over the past two days, as of 9 a.m (0100 GMT) on Friday.

About 14 rescue vessels are attempting to put out the fire and searching for missing crew members from the tanker, CCTV reported citing Shanghai Maritime Search and Rescue Centre.

The Sanchi had a crew of 32 sailors at the time of the collision. The body of a mariner suspected to be from the ship was recovered on Monday and sent to Shanghai for identification. The rest of the crew, which included 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis, remains missing.


<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Map of oil tanker collision FACTBOX-Major oil tanker spills since 1970 FACTBOX-Condensate: a convenient yet explosive fossil fuel ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi in TOKYO, Muyu Xu in Beijing; Writing by Josephine Mason in BEIJING; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.

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