China Offers Condolences over Deaths of Iranian Sailors

China's maritime authority said it had collected samples from the site where the vessel sank, classifying the water on a four-tier scale as "worse than grade four". An Iranian official said there was no hope of finding any of the Sanchi's crew alive. No burning was seen on sea surface from a marine surveillance plane at about 1 p.m. Monday and the oil spill could be easily seen from the air.

Authorities and environmentalists have said it's too early to know the impact on fisheries, although Greenpeace said the area is spawning ground for bluefin leatherjacket and swordtip squid and the winter habitat of blue crab, chub mackerel and yellow croaker.

The ship, which was carrying 136,000 tonnes or nearly a million barrels of condensate - an ultra-light, highly flammable crude oil - sank after several explosions weakened the hull.

Zhao, who is deputy head of the ministry's press office, said new photos and video footage showed the fire had gone out entirely and said an investigation into the disaster would be conducted according to the "strictest worldwide standards". The ship's last confirmed location was about 315 kilometres west of Sokkozaki on the island of Amami Oshima, one of the northern islands in the Ryukyu island chain that includes Okinawa.

A Coast Guard spokesman said patrol boats were cruising through the area to help diffuse the slick, adding that the "spill area had shrunk from the previous day", referring to the overall narrowing of the area covered by the slick. It had been burning for more than a week and finally sank Sunday, sealing the fate for the estimated 29 crew members still on board.

XRP Spikes as Ripple Partners with MoneyGram for International Payments Pilot
Ripple's blockchain technology and digital currency XRP could move money far faster, the companies said in a statement Thursday. Its transaction fee is just "fractions of a penny" and is much cheaper than the $30 it costs every time you trade in Bitcoin .

On Saturday, Chinese rescuers recovered the tanker's "black box", the transport ministry said without specifying exactly what had been retrieved. Another body, presumed to be one of the Sanchi's sailors, was found on January 8 and brought to Shanghai for identification.

Iran's ruling cleric, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, extended condolences to the members and family of the crew of the Sanchi oil tanker, which sank offshore China.

The freighter has been taken to a port near Shanghai where investigators will start work on assessing the cause of the disaster, the government said.

Rescue forces from Shanghai and Jiangsu worked with Japan and South Korea in the rescue operations, Lu said.

Strong winds, high waves and toxic gases are hindering dozens of rescue boats struggling to locate missing sailors from a stricken in the and to extinguish a fire that has burned for the past three days on the ship. The 120 sq kms oil slick is thought to be made up of heavy fuel that was used to power the vessel.

  • Megan Austin