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

Violet Powell
January 8, 2018

The 32 missing crew members were all from the Iranian tanker Sanchi, carrying 136,000 tonnes of oil the time of the crash. The ship was carrying nearly a million barrels of condensate, an ultra light crude oil.

South Korea's coast guard has sent a ship and an airplane to assist the search effort.

The official said the tanker had been rented by a South Korean company and was on its way to South Korea.

Thirty two people, mostly Iranians, went missing on Sunday after an oil tanker collided with a cargo ship off the coast of east China.

Analysts say the region is so unsafe for ships because of the sheer amount of cargo being transported through its waters.

State media CCTV showed pictures of the tanker ablaze and billowing plumes of thick dark smoke. The Foreign Ministry said in a separate statement the cause of the incident was under investigation.

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The tanker had been sailing to Daesan, South Korea from Kharg Island, Iran, according to Reuters ship tracking data. Its registered owner is Bright Shipping Ltd.

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

The Chinese ministry said the second ship in the collision was a Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship carrying 64,000 tons of grain.

The other vessel had been damaged but "without jeopardising the safety of the ship" and all its 21 Chinese crew had been rescued, it added. It was due to arrive on January 10, according to Reuters ship tracking data.

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.

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