Iranian oil tanker ablaze off China coast has sunk: state media

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This handout picture from the Transport Ministry of China released on Jan. 14, 2018 shows smoke and flames coming from the burning oil tanker “Sanchi” at sea off the coast of eastern China. An Iranian official said on January 14, 2018 there was no chance any crew members had survived among the 32 aboard an oil tanker on fire off the coast of China for more than a week. (AFP/Transport Ministry of China)
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This handout picture from the Transport Ministry of China released on Jan. 14, 2018 shows smoke and flames coming from the burning oil tanker “Sanchi” at sea off the coast of eastern China. An Iranian official said on January 14, 2018 there was no chance any crew members had survived among the 32 aboard an oil tanker on fire off the coast of China for more than a week. (AFP/Transport Ministry of China)
Updated 14 January 2018
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Iranian oil tanker ablaze off China coast has sunk: state media

BEIJING: A Iranian oil tanker burst into flames from end to end and sank Sunday, eight days after a collision with a cargo ship off China, state media said.
A Tehran official said even before news of the sinking that there was no hope of saving some 30 missing crewmen. But Chinese officials played down fears of a major environmental disaster.
The Sanchi, carrying 136,000 tons of light crude oil from Iran, had been in flames since colliding with the CF Crystal, a Hong Kong-registered bulk freighter, on January 6.
Around midday Sunday the ship “suddenly ignited,” with the entire vessel burning fiercely and a pall of smoke around 800-1,000 meters high, China’s transport ministry said, releasing dramatic pictures showing the entire vessel obscured by thick black smoke.
The ship later sank, the official news agency Xinhua cited the State Oceanic Administration as saying.
“There is no hope of finding survivors among the members of the crew,” Mohammad Rastad, spokesman for the Iranian rescue team dispatched to Shanghai, told Iran’s state broadcaster in Tehran before the tanker went down.
Rastad said information from members of the Crystal crew suggested all the personnel on the Sanchi were killed in the first hour of the accident “due to the explosion and the release of gas.”
“Despite our efforts, it has not been possible to extinguish the fire and recover the bodies due to repeated explosions and gas leaks,” he said.
The Sanchi, which was headed to South Korea to deliver its cargo, had a crew of 32 — 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis. Only three bodies have so far been recovered.
Chinese rescuers Saturday also recovered the tanker’s “black box,” the transport ministry said without specifying exactly what had been retrieved.
A reporter with China’s state television CCTV aboard a plane from the State Oceanic Administration reported seeing wreckage from the Sanchi and oil on fire, and spilt fuel covering a 10 square kilometer area.
“The oil spill situation is very serious,” CCTV quoted the reporter as saying on social media.
But the television earlier also cited Zhang Yong, a senior engineer with the State Oceanic Administration, as playing down fears of a spill.
“Because this is light crude oil spill, relatively speaking it has a much smaller impact than other oil spills, because this kind of oil is especially volatile — most of it has entered the atmosphere, so it’s had less impact on the ocean...,” Zhang was quoted as saying.
“This area should be considered the open sea, very far from places where people live, so the human impact should be minimal.”
Rescue efforts had been particularly difficult because at 89 degrees Celsius, the vessel’s compartments were too hot for workers to withstand for long, CCTV quoted He Wang, an expert from Chinese oil company Huade Petrochemical, as saying.


Libyan coast guard rescues some 160 Europe-bound migrants

Updated 17 July 2018
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Libyan coast guard rescues some 160 Europe-bound migrants

CAIRO: Libya’s coast guard says it has intercepted some 160 Europe-bound African migrants, including dozens of children and women, in the Mediterranean Sea near its shores.
Spokesman Ayoub Gassim says a boat carrying 158 passengers including 34 women and nine children was stopped Monday off the coast of the western town of Khoms.
Libya has emerged as a major transit point to Europe for those fleeing poverty and civil war elsewhere in Africa. Traffickers have exploited Libya’s chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled and later killed longtime ruler Muammar Qaddafi.
He says the migrants were given humanitarian and medical aid, and were taken to a refugee camp in Khoms town.
Libyan authorities have stepped up efforts to stem the flow of migrants, with European assistance.