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

08 January, 2018, 06:53 | Author: Marjorie Miles
  • Oil tanker SANCHI owned by an Iranian shipping company

A tanker has collided with a bulk carrier in the East China Sea, leaving 32, the entire tanker crew, missing.

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 in a statement.

The Panamanian-flagged 274-metre (899-foot) tanker Sanchi was operated by Iran's Glory Shipping and heading to South Korea with its cargo, the ministry said.

Smoke and fire is seen from Panama-registered tanker Sanchi carrying Iranian oil after it collided with a Chinese freight ship in the East China Sea, in this still image taken from a January 7, 2018 video.

Oil tanker SANCHI, owned by an Iranian shipping company, collided with a cargo ship.

China's Xinhua news agency said eight Chinese ships were dispatched in a search-and-rescue operation.

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Shipping experts said the incident could potentially disrupt shipping in and around Shanghai, one of the world's largest and busiest ports.

The incident also marked the first major maritime incident involving an Iranian tanker since the lifting of global sanctions against Iran in January 2016. The Foreign Ministry said in a separate statement that the cause of the incident was under investigation.

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

Norwegian ship insurer Skuld confirmed it was the lead hull insurer for the tanker and the protection and indemnity (P&I) insurer for CF Crystal.

"Our ship and plane have arrived at the site and are working closely with Chinese maritime authorities", a coastguard official said.

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

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