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Burning tanker off Chinese coast 'in danger of exploding'

There are fears of an environmental disaster in the East China Sea as a tanker continues leaking oil two days after colliding with a cargo ship. Chinese officials have told state media the Sanchi is in danger of exploding and sinking.

Rescuers trying to reach the burning tanker were beaten back by toxic clouds, the transport ministry says.The body of one crewman, among the 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis on board, has been found. The rest are missing. The exact cause of the collision is not yet known.

The tanker, run by Iran's leading oil shipping operator, has onboard 136,000 tonnes of condensate, which is an ultra-light version of crude oil. Condensate is very different from the black crude that is often seen in oil spills. It exists in gas form within high-pressure oil reservoirs and liquefies once extracted. It is highly toxic, low in density and considerably more explosive than regular crude oil.

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