32 Sailors Missing After Fiery Ship Collision Off The Coast Of China

Korea Coast Guard/Yonhap via REUTERS

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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Thirty-two people are missing after an Iranian oil tanker collided with a cargo ship off China’s east coast late Saturday night.

The Panama-registered tanker Sanchi was sailing from Iran to South Korea when it collided with the Hong Kong-registered freighter CF Crystal in the East China Sea, the Associated Press reported. All 21 crew members of the Crystal, Chinese nationals carrying American grain products, were rescued, but the entire crew of the Sanchi — 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis — is still missing.

The Sanchi is still floating. However, it is on fire, and there is oil in the water. It is not clear whether the Sanchi, which was carrying nearly one million barrels of oil, is spilling out.

Chinese media released an image of the incident online.

In response to the collision, China dispatched eight vessels, including several police ships and cleaning vessels, to the scene for crisis management. The South Korean Coast Guard also responded to the crash.

Poor weather and smoke make rescue efforts a challenge.

The full extent of the damage is currently unknown. Saturday’s collision marks the second such incident involving an Iranian tanker in a year and a half. An Iranian supertanker was involved in a collision in the Singapore Strait in August 2016. That incident did not result in loss of life or pollution.


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