Burning Iranian oil tanker sinks in Japanese waters

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The Sanchi, carrying 136,000 tons of light crude oil from Iran, has been in flames since colliding with the CF Crystal, a Hong Kong-registered bulk freighter, some 300 kilometers east of Shanghai.

The ship has been ablaze for nearly a week since it collided with another vessel on January 6 in the East China Sea and has been drifting into Japanese economic zone over the past several days.

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. The tanker was carrying a cargo of almost 1 million barrels of condensate, a type of gassy, ultra-light oil that readily evaporates or burns off in a fire, reducing the chance of a major oil spill.

The stricken tanker, called the Sanchi, which had been adrift and on fire for more than a week following the accident with another vessel in the East China Sea, had "suddenly ignited" around noon (0400 GMT), China Central Television said.

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Another crew member had been rescued earlier last week.

The cause of the collision remains unclear.

The Chinese freighter had 21 crew members, all of whom were reported safe.

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