China's Ministry of Transport said on Monday that a body had been recovered.
"I don't know what else to say but just beg them to rescue them as I am sure that they are alive inside", said one woman, who identified herself as the wife of the Sanchi's chief engineer.
An NITC spokesperson had previously suggested China might be more concerned with stopping a major oil leak in waters important to their fishing industry than rushing to save crew members.
On February 20, 2017, the IG restarted providing almost full coverage of reinsurance of around $7.8 billion per tanker for shipping Iranian oil, in addition to resuming reinsurance coverage for NITC tankers.
Chinese firefighters spent Thursday struggling to extinguish the blaze as criticism mounted in Iran over whether enough was being done to locate dozens of its missing crew members.
"Since the vessel's engine room is not directly affected by the fire and is about 14 meters (46 feet) under water, there is still hope", spokesman Mohsen Bahrami said late Tuesday. The cargo ship reportedly suffered damage but all crew members were rescued.
Details on how the collision happened are not yet known but emergency teams are now in the area to help with the rescue and clean-up efforts. "We are persistently working to put out the fire and rescue possible survivors".
Officials have confirmed that the operation has been made hard by the weather conditions and smoke coming from the ship.
A total of 32 crew members, including 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis, were on board the oil tanker at the time of the collision.
The National Iranian Tanker Co., which carried internationally-credited insurance, said it had formed an emergency committee to investigate the cause of the incident.
The brother of one of the missing sailors, Mahmoud Abuli Ghasemabad, also told the AP that he and his family were holding out hope.
Chinese officials recently said that no large oil spill has been detected.
The ship is still on fire, though Hassan Qashqavi, a deputy in the Iranian Foreign Ministry, sought to downplay the potential loss of life.
The crude oil tanker hit Chinese freighter CF Crystal during the weekend, which was carrying grain from the United State to China. The shipment, destined for Panama, was worth around $60 million.
"Probably the Iranian crew has been stationed in the bottom compartments of the ship which are cooler", he was quoted by the official Islamic Republic of Iran news agency as saying before the explosion.