A multinational committee probing a collision between an Iranian oil tanker and a freighter off China has come to differing conclusions over the causes of the accident that led to one of the worst oil spills in decades, according to an investigation report seen by AFP.

The Panama-registered Sanchi, carrying 111,000 tonnes of light crude oil, collided with the Hong Kong-registered CF Crystal in waters off Shanghai on January 6.

The tanker, operated by Iran's NITC, went down in a ball of flames on January 14, and its entire crew of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis are presumed dead. The CF Crystal was damaged but was towed to a nearby port and all 21 crew onboard were rescued.

The investigation report, produced by maritime authorities from China, Hong Kong, Iran and Panama, has reached diverging conclusions. Chinese investigators found the Sanchi failed to make way after it saw the other vessel approaching, whereas Iranian and Panamanian investigators blamed a course change by CF Crystal for the accident.

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