BEIJING: Rescuers have recovered the bodies of two crew members on an Iranian oil tanker that has been burning since it collided with a freighter last week in the East China Sea, according to Chinese state media.
State broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) said the bodies were found on the lifeboat deck of the Sanchi on Saturday morning.
One body was recovered from the sea earlier this week, leaving 29 crew members still unaccounted for.
The ship, run by Iran’s top oil shipping operator National Iranian Tanker Co, was carrying 136,000 tonnes of condensate, an ultra-light crude that is highly flammable, to South Korea.
It was equivalent to about 1 million barrels and worth around $76 million.
There were 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis working as crew onboard.
CCTV said rescuers stayed aboard less than 30 minutes but were able to recover the ship’s data and video recordings.
The network said rescuers were prevented from entering the crew living quarters by temperatures as high as 89 degrees Celsius.
South Korean fisheries officials had warned the tanker could continue to burn for as long as one month.
The cause of the collision remains unclear.
It is the second collision of a ship from the National Iranian Tanker Co in less than a year-and-a-half.
In August 2016, one of its tankers collided with a