Tanker, freighter collide, leaving 22 missing near China

The Panama-registered Sanchi tanker is seen ablaze in open waters, after colliding with a Chinese bulk ship, January 7, 2018.

An Iranian oil tanker collided with a bulk freighter and caught fire off China's east coast, leaving the tanker's entire crew of 32 missing and causing it to spill oil into the sea, authorities said today.

Sanchi was carrying 150,000 tons, or almost 1 million barrels of condensate, a type of ultra-light oil, according to Chinese authorities. South Korea also sent a ship and helicopter to aid the rescue and clean up efforts.

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

The size of the oil slick spilling from the Sanchi is not now known.

He further said that the tanker was leased by a South Korean company. He declined to be identified as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

The tanker was still ablaze on Sunday, with images broadcast by state television channel CCTV showing the ship in the grip of an intense fire, enveloped in clouds of black smoke.

The Chinese government gave no details of the size of the spill. Its registered owner is Bright Shipping Ltd.

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

The ministry said all 21 Chinese crew members were rescued from the damaged cargo vessel. It was due to arrive on January 10, according to Reuters ship tracking data. The transport ministry has confirmed.

The AP reports that this is the second collision for the National Iranian Tanker Company in less than two years.

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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