Published: Mon, January 08, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Tanker Collision, 32 Missing

Tanker Collision, 32 Missing

The Chinese Transport Ministry says 32 people, majority Iranians, are missing from an oil tanker that collided with a cargo ship off the east coast of China. It said South Korea also sent a search plane and a coastguard ship.

The Sanchi tanker, registered in Panama, collided with the CF Crystal about 160 nautical miles off the coast near Shanghai on Saturday, the Ministry of Transportation said in statement. The 225-meter-long second vessel CF CRYSTAL, carrying 64,000 tonnes of grain, was partly damaged in the collision. All 21 members of the Chinese freighter's crew, all of which who are Chinese nationals, have been rescued.

The Sanchi was carrying 136,000 metric tons (150,000 tons, or almost 1 million barrels) of condensate, a type of ultra-light oil, according to Chinese authorities.

The tanker's 32 crew members including 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshi sailors were missing in the incident.

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

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The Chinese and South Korean Coast Guard's are responding.

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.

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

It was due to arrive at Daesan in South Korea from Kharg Island in Iran on Sunday, according to Reuters ship tracking. 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.

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