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Marine fears as oil tanker sinks off China
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25.09.2018

Marine fears as oil tanker sinks off China

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The burning Iranian oil tanker that sank in the East China Sea in the worst oil ship disaster in decades has produced a 16km long oil slick, Chinese media and Japanese authorities say.

Chinese state TV CCTV said the slick was one to four nautical miles wide and had grown several times in size since Sunday, stirring further worries about damage to a marine ecosystem rich in fish and bird life.

The slick was discovered east of where the ship sank on Sunday, CCTV reported on Monday.
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A clean-up effort on the sea's surface has begun and rescue teams have called a halt to the large-scale search for survivors, reducing it to "normal" operations, CCTV said

The tanker Sanchi had been adrift and ablaze after crashing into the freighter CF Crystal on January 6. Strong winds had pushed it away from the Chinese coast, where the incident happened, and into Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

China's State Oceanic Administration said because the explosions had ruptured the hull of the ship, a large amount of oil in surrounding waters was on fire.
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The sinking marks the biggest tanker spill since 1991, when 260,000 tonnes of oil leaked off the Angolan coast.

Black smoke was still billowing from the site of the sinking, the Japan Coast Guard said on Monday.

A Chinese salvage team on Saturday recovered two bodies from the tanker, China's state news agency Xinhua reported. Another body, presumed to be one of the Sanchi's sailors, was found on January 8 and brought to Shanghai for identification.
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The salvage team recovered the Sanchi's voyage data recorder, or "black box" from the bridge of the tanker, Xinhua also said.

Iranian officials said on Sunday the remaining 29 crew members and passengers of the tanker were presumed dead. The crew consisted of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis.
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