More than a year after Iranian oil tanker Sanchi sank in the East China Sea, reportedly killing all aboard, families of some of the Iranian victims have reported receiving mysterious telephone calls from their supposedly dead relatives that are abruptly cut off.
Sanchi and CF Crystal collided on January 6th 2018 some 160 miles east of Shanghai. Immediately after the collision Chinese rescuers boarded the Sanchi and recovered two bodies, but then a large explosion shook the ship and it sank within hours. High temperatures prevented rescuers from entering the crew quarters before the explosion
Sanchi was carrying 136,000 tonnes of natural-gas condensate when the incident occurred.
All crew members of the Sanchi were declared dead, but many relatives have claimed that their loved ones have attempted to contacted them in recent days through repeated telephone calls. This has spread doubt among the families relating to the official story about the disaster.
Over the past few days some 30 people have been protesting in front of Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, President Hassan Rouhani’s office, and the Chinese embassy in Tehran in the last few days.
Pro-reformist daily Sharq said that the relatives were demanding a full and transparent investigation into the disaster, while two other major dailies, Hamshahri and Jam-e Jam, reported that some of the families theorized that their relatives could have been taken hostage for some reason.
One of the victims’ wives, Tahreh Mir Nassiri, who has been participating in the protests, said that “whenever we say our loved ones are still alive, the authorities demand evidence to prove our claim; but, we fire back, asking them where is their evidence showing that all crew members of the Sanchi are dead?”
Mohammad Mehdi Boroumandi, chairman of the government committee formed to investigate the Sanchi disaster, said that “the claims about telephone calls and the Sanchi crew being taken hostage are totally unfounded and based on hearsay”.