SEOUL (Reuters) - The stricken Iranian oil tanker in the East China Sea could burn for as long as one month, South Korea's Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries told Reuters on Wednesday, as the blaze raged for a fourth day following a collision with a freight ship.
Dozens of rescue boats battled strong winds, high waves and poisonous fumes to locate 31 missing sailors and tame the ship fire, amid growing concerns the ship may explode or sink, said a ministry official.
"We believe flames would last for two weeks or a month considering previous cases of oil tank accidents," said official Park Sung-Dong.
The tanker Sanchi (IMO:9356608), run by Iran's top oil shipping operator, National Iranian Tanker Co, collided on Saturday with the CF Crystal (IMO:9497050), carrying grain from the United States, about 160 nautical miles (300 km) off China's coast near Shanghai.
It was carrying 136,000 tonnes of condensate, an ultra light crude that is highly flammable and to South Korea, equivalent to about 1 million barrels and worth about $60 million.
Ship collision off China's coast: http://tmsnrt.rs/2Dh8hZT
(Reporting by Yuna Park in SEOUL; writing by Josephine Mason in BEIJING; Editing by Michael Perry)