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Extreme weather conditions are hindering a rescue operation in the East China Sea after an Iranian oil tanker collided with another ship causing a fire that has yet to be extinguished.
The Panama-bound oil tanker, the Sanchi, was carrying 136,000 tons of condensate, a lighter version of crude oil, when it crashed with a bulk carrier destined for Hong Kong around 160 miles off the coast of Shanghai.
Conditions - Winds - Waves - Gases - Efforts
However, extreme conditions including strong winds, high waves, and toxic gases are complicating the efforts of dozens of rescue boats attempting to distinguish the fire and locate the 31 missing crew members.
“The Chinese government attaches great importance to the accident,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang.
Incident - Fears - Oil - Contamination - Government
The incident has also sparked fears of oil contamination, although the Chinese government has said it has not found evidence of a “large-scale” oil contamination and claimed that unlike crude oil, the condensate is quickly evaporating due to its lightness.
However, fears still remain that the oil tanker could explode at any moment due to the high volatility of the condensate oil, likely killing all the crew members on board.
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