Published: Mon, January 08, 2018
Health Care | By Alberto Manning

China Says 32 People, Mostly Iranians, Missing After Oil Tanker Collision

China Says 32 People, Mostly Iranians, Missing After Oil Tanker Collision

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

A tanker carrying Iranian oil that collided with a Chinese freight ship in the East China Sea over the weekend was still ablaze on Monday morning, a South Korean coast guard official told Reuters. The Crystal's crew members were all Chinese nationals. China sent four rescue ships and three cleaning boats to the site, while South Korea dispatched a ship and a helicopter.

"There is a wide perimeter of flames around the vessel because of the spillage and search and rescue efforts are being carried out with difficulty", Iran's Rastad said.

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

The Iranian tanker was carrying 136,000 tons of gas condensate, worth about $60 million based on current crude oil prices. The size of the oil slick caused by the accident also was not known. It was not clear, however, whether the tanker was still spilling oil.

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The Sanchi has operated under five different names since it was built in 2008, according the United Nations -run International Maritime Organization.

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

This is the first major accident involving an Iranian oil tanker since global sanctions were lifted in January 2016.

The tanker's 32 crew members are all Iranian nationals except for two Bangladeshi nationals, the Chinese transport ministry said.

Gerry Shih is an Associated Press writer.

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