TEHRAN, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Iran appreciates China for its efforts to search the missing Iranian sailors aboard the oil tanker Sanchi, Iranian Minister of Labor, Cooperatives and Social Welfare Ali Rabiei has said.
In a signed letter of thanks sent Wednesday to Chinese Ambassador to Iran Pang Sen, Rabiei said that China has made great efforts to rescue the crew aboard Sanchi and put out the fire on the tanker.
"As representative of the Iranian president and president of the Iranian investigation committee of the incident, I, in the name of the Iranian government and people, extend sincerest gratitude to the Chinese government and people, especially to the Chinese personnel who have risked their life to make every effort to rescue the tanker under the threat of toxic gas and explosion," Rabiei said.
The Panama-registered oil tanker Sanchi, carrying 136,000 tonnes of light crude oil from Iran, collided with the CF Crystal, a Hong Kong-registered bulk freighter, about 300 km east of the Yangtze estuary on Jan. 6.
Thirty-two crew members of the tanker -- 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis -- were lost.
The minister regretted over the loss of crew members, saying that the support and humanitarian aid the Chinese government and people offered to Iran will be remembered forever by the Iranian people.