Crew of 32 missing after ships collide off eastern China

08 January, 2018, 06:53 | Author: Jason Torres
  • China expands surveillance capabilities with new intelligence-gathering ship

Iran's Petroleum Ministry on Sunday confirmed that 32 crew members, including 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis, have gone missing after two vessels collided off China's east coast.

The Iranian tanker, Sanchi, is ablaze and leaking oil after colliding with the Hong Kong-registered vessel CF Crystal.

The foreign ministry said China had deployed specialised "cleaning ships" to the scene to minimise environmental damage.

Eight Chinese ships and a coast guard vessel from South Korea have been sent for the search and rescue operation, Xinhua news agency said.

The tanker - carrying almost a million barrels of oil, worth about US$60m - had been sailing to Daesan in South Korea from Kharg Island in Iran, according to Reuters shipping data.

This handout from the Korea Coast Guard taken and released on January 7, 2018 shows the Panamanian-flagged tanker "Sanchi" on fire after a collision with a cargo ship at sea. He was speaking as of 8am Korean time (2300 GMT, Sunday).

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"There is a wide perimeter of flames around the vessel because of the spillage and search and rescue efforts are being carried out with difficulty", Iran's Rastad said.

That was nearly twice the size of the Exxon Valdez spill, which ravaged Alaska's coast in 1989.

There was a collision involving an NITC-operated supertanker in the Singapore Strait in August 2016, but there was no loss of life or pollution.

The tanker, managed by the National Iranian Tanker Company, was insured by internationally credited insurers, according to Iran's oil ministry.

Hanwha Total was not immediately available for comment.

"Our ship and plane have arrived at the site and are working closely with Chinese maritime authorities", a coastguard official said. The 225-meter-long second vessel CF CRYSTAL, carrying 64,000 tonnes of grain, was partly damaged in the collision.

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