Tehran: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani extended on Sunday his condolences to the families of 32 sailors who died after their oil tanker collided with another vessel off China’s east coast.
The crew members, including 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis, went missing after a Panama-registered oil tanker and a Hong Kong-registered bulk freighter collided on January 6 in waters about 160 sea miles east of the Yangtze River’s estuary, Xinhua reported.
Three bodies have been recovered after Chinese rescue teams tried very hard to put out the fire and rescue the crew members on the tanker, carrying 136,000 tons of gas condensates and other oils, that caught fire after the collision. It sank on Sunday after burning for eight days.
Describing the incident as “tragic” and “heart-breaking,” Rouhani said the deaths of the crew have deeply saddened the nation of Iran, the Tasnim news agency reported.
The President stressed that determining the identity of the dead sailors should be a priority to relieve their families’ pain and suffering.
Rouhani also urged all relevant organisations to take necessary measures to investigate the cause of the tragic event and prevent any similar incident in the future.
Despite China’s prompt and continuous efforts to rescue the missing sailors, no survivors have been found so far.
Chinese Ambassador to Iran Pang Sen on Thursday said that the poor sea condition in the area hindered the rescue operations, as Chinese rescue members risked their lives several times to get close to the tanker to put out the fire.
He also pointed out that rescuing the missing crew has always been China’s priority out of international humanitarian spirit and the traditional friendship between China and Iran.