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Flames and smoke from the Iranian oil tanker Sanchi is seen in the East China Sea, on January 15, 2018 in this photo provided by Japan's 10th Regional Coast Guard. 10th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters/Handout via REUTERS

(reuters_tickers)

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The bodies of three of the crew of the Sanchi, the tanker involved in the worst oil ship disaster in decades off the coast of China, have been identified, the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reported Saturday.

The three crew members identified are Milad Aravi, Majid Naqian and Mohammad Kavousi, the agency reported.

The semi-official Fars news agency said that the three were Iranian.

The Iranian government is trying to get the bodies of the three crew members back to Iran, according to ISNA.

The Sanchi, run by Iran's top oil shipping operator, collided with the CF Crystal about 160 nautical miles off the coast of China near Shanghai and the mouth of the Yangtze River Delta on Jan. 6.

The Panama-registered tanker was sailing from Iran to South Korea, carrying 136,000 tonnes of condensate, an ultra-light crude, equivalent to just under 1 million barrels, worth about $60 million.

The Sanchi sank on Jan. 14 after burning for several days. The entire crew of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis are presumed dead.

The black boxes for the Sanchi and the CF Crystal have been opened, ISNA reported on Wednesday.

The maritime authorities of China, Panama, Iran and Hong Kong on Thursday signed an agreement to jointly investigate the collision.

(Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh, editing by Louise Heavens)

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Reuters