Iranian minister due in China to follow up burning oil tanker case

Beijing, Jan 12, IRNA - Iranian Minister of Cooperative, Labor and Social Welfare Ali Rabiei is scheduled to travel to China on Saturday to review the latest conditions of a burning oil tanker owned by Iran.

'The life of each and every Iranian is important to us and we are making round-the-clock efforts in this regard amid hope and fear,' Rabiei who is in charge of a committee set up to see to the incident earlier tweeted.

He said he has already urged the Chinese ambassador to Tehran to deal with the incident more seriously, adding that renting Japanese fireboats to help with fire extinguishing operations is among other plans for tackling the problem.

The Iranian oil tanker, carrying condensates to South Korea, burst into flames after colliding with a Chinese grain vessel off the east coast of China on January 6. All 32 crew members of the tanker are still missing. All crew members of the Chinese ship were rescued.

'With the operations carried out so far and measures to be taken in coming days, we hope to have good news for the families of the crew members of the oil tanker and for all Iranian people,' he said.

Out of the total 32 crew members (30 Iranians, and 2 Bangladeshis) on board the Iranian tanker, 31 have gone missing. The body of an Iranian crew member was found 3 miles away from the tanker on Monday.

The operation to extinguish the fire and rescue the missing crew is still under way.

Japan's coast guard announced that the fire stricken tanker has drifted into the country's waters due to strong winds. However, China still leads the operation to extinguish the fire on the tanker.

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