Published: Mon, January 08, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Iran confirms its oil tanker incident, says 30 citizens missing

Iran confirms its oil tanker incident, says 30 citizens missing

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.

The 32 crew-members were on board the Sanchi - a Panama-registered vessel carrying 136,000 tons of oil - which caught fire after the collision 160 nautical miles (296 km) off the coast.

Chinese officials dispatched several maritime police vessels, two rescue boats, and three professional cleaning ships to the area.

Chinese state media CCTV showed pictures yesterday of the tanker ablaze and billowing plumes of thick dark smoke.

It was not immediately clear how much environmental damage had been caused or the volume of oil spilled into the sea.

South Korea has also sent a ship and helicopter to help, Reuters reported.

Iran's oil ministry has confirmed that at least 30 Iranian citizens were missing in oil tanker incident.

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Sanchi collided with CF Crystal, registered in Hong Kong, which was carrying 64,000 tonnes of grain from the United States to China's southern province of Guangdong, the Chinese government said.

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

He further said that the tanker was leased by a South Korean company.

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. The ship and its cargo were insured, a statement said.

Saturday's collision was the latest fatal maritime accident to hit East Asia in recent years.

Two months earlier, in June, the USS Fitzgerald and a cargo ship smashed into each other off Japan, leaving seven sailors dead.

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