Iranian oil tanker sinks, 32 crew members presumed dead

Chinese rescuers find two bodies on burning oil tanker

"They burned to ashes while their families are wailing here!" said one woman, who did not give her name, to local media.

"There is no hope of finding survivors among the members of the crew", Mohammad Rastad, a spokesman for the Iranian rescue team dispatched to Shanghai, told Iran's state broadcaster in Tehran before the tanker went down.

It remains unclear if there has been a significant oil leak into the sea.

President Hassan Rouhani expressed his condolences and called on relevant government agencies to investigate the tragedy and take any necessary legal measures, according to state TV.

The tanker was carrying 136,000 tons of condensate, a light oil, to South Korea from Iran, China's Ministry of Transport said.

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The 21 Chinese crew members of the Crystal, which did not burst into flames, were all rescued. Only three bodies have been recovered so far. However, Chinese officials have played down fears of a major environmental disaster.

Iran announced that all the ship's 32 crew members - 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis were presumed dead, according to Iranian state media. A State Oceanic Administration official reached by phone said the administration is collecting data from the spill area, and the administration said on its website that the spill will have an impact on the environment.

The tanker has operated under five different names since it was built in 2008, according to the United Nations -run International Maritime Organization.

Iran's Shana news agency reported that the Sanchi was managed by the National Iranian Tanker Company and its cargo was worth around $60 million.

Black smoke could still be seen billowing from the site of the collision as oil left behind by the tanker continued to burn.

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