32 crew missing after collision off China coast

Image: Xinhua
Image: Xinhua

The search continues for 32 crew members missing after two vessels collided off China’s east coast.

China’s Ministry of Transport said the crew, which includes 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis, went missing after the Panama-registered oil tanker Sanchi and a Hong Kong-registered bulk freighter CF Crystal collided in waters about 160 nautical miles east of the Yangtze River’s estuary.

Oil spilled from the 274-metre oil tanker, which was traveling from Iran to the Republic of Korea.

The Panama-flagged vessel, which had 136,000 tonnes of condensate oil on board, caught fire after the collision and was still burning yesterday.

All the missing crew were from the 2008-built, 164,154DWT Suezmax tanker, which capsized after the collision.

The Xinhua news agency reported Sanchi was still floating and burning 13 hours later.

It said the China Maritime Search and Rescue Centre dispatched eight vessels, including three specialised cleansing vessels, for search and rescue. The Republic of Korea also sent a coast guard ship and a fixed-wing aircraft to assist in the search and rescue.

The 225-metre-long bulk freighter CF Crystal was carrying 64,000 tonnes of grain and was partly damaged. It is owned by a Chinese shipping company and was travelling from the United States to Guangdong, China.

There are fears the accident has potential to turn into an ecological disaster.

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