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Stricken Iran Oil Tanker not likely to sink TEHRAN (NIOC) – The National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) says given despite the high level of damage to the stricken Iranian oil tanker near China, it is unlikely that it sinks.

Sirous Kianersi, NITC managing director, said on Monday that rescue operations for finding the missing crew of the tanker still continue, adding 3 fireboats have been dispatched to the spot to help firefighting operations.

Rescuers attempting to reach the crew of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis were being beaten back by toxic clouds and intense fires which hamper rescue operations, he added.

Kianersi further said that two NITC vessels together with another one belonging to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines have been dispatched to the scene to help search operations.

He said so far the body of one of the crew member has been found but he has not been identified as his face has been ruined by the blaze but measures are being taken to identify the man.  

"The found body was wearing a life jacket which shows the crew has had enough time to use such equipment."

36 hours after the incident, the oil tanker was ablaze off the Chinese coast and is at risk of exploding.

A huge fire was still raging around the stricken ship, which had been carrying 136,000 tonnes of light oil, or about 1m barrels, with fierce heat and thick black smoke billowing from the vessel and the surrounding sea.

The accident happened on Saturday evening 160 nautical miles (300km) east of Shanghai.

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