Oil tanker collides with vessel off China coast, 32 crew members missing

Marsha Scott
January 8, 2018

A tanker has collided with a bulk carrier in the East China Sea, leaving 32, the entire tanker crew, missing. It said South Korea also sent a search plane and a coastguard ship. The incident happened around 160 nautical miles east of the Yangtze River Delta.

The Chinese ministry said the second ship in the collision was a Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship carrying 64,000 tons of grain. The Crystal's crew members were all Chinese nationals.

State-run China Central Television reported Sunday evening that the tanker was still floating and burning, and that oil was visible in the water.

Dramatic pictures show plumes of black smoke rising from the scene as the ship is engulfed by a huge fire.

The Iranian tanker was carrying 136,000 tons of gas condensate, worth about $60 million based on current crude oil prices.

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

The incident marked the first major maritime incident involving an Iranian tanker since the lifting of worldwide sanctions on Iran in January 2016.

There were 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis on the tanker, but all were missing as of Sunday, Chinese authorities said.

The 274-meter-long oil tanker SANCHI, owned by an Iranian shipping company, was heading to South Korea with its cargo. A Korean Coast Guard official confirmed the tanker was still on fire at 1 p.m. (0500 GMT). Total did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In August 2016, one of its tankers collided with a Swiss container ship in the Singapore Strait, damaging both ships but causing no injuries or oil spill.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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