Two vessels have collided off the eastern coast of China, according to reports in Chinese media. Search and rescue operations are underway for 32 people who went missing in the collision.
The collision between the Panama-registered oil tanker "SANCHI" and Hong Kong freighter "CF CRYSTAL" happened at around 8:00pm local time Saturday, 160 nautical miles east of the mouth of the Yangtze River, Xinhua reports citing the Chinese Ministry of Transport. The accident caused a massive fire onboard the "SANCHI," forcing the tanker to tilt to the right. Thirty-two sailors from the Panamian vessel remain missing, including 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis.
Search and rescue operation under way as 32 went missing after two vessels collided off the east coast of China; A Panama registered oil tanker is on fire pic.twitter.com/RslNE08cyd
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) January 7, 2018
The "CF CRYSTAL" was also damaged in the collision, but its crew of 21 is safe after being rescued by East China Sea patrol boats that were dispatched to the scene.
The emergency operation is continuing Sunday morning. Several maritime police vessels, two rescue boats and three professional cleaning ships were dispatched to the area. The Shanghai Fire Department has sent experts to help battle the flames, and the South Korean Marine Police Agency deployed a marine police ship and a fixed-wing aircraft to help with the search and rescue effort.
The 274 meter long "SANCHI" tanker was hired by an Iranian company to deliver 136,000 tons of fuel to South Korea, according to information provided by Xinhua. The 225 meter "CF CRYSTAL" was carrying 64,000 tons of grain from the United States, en route to the Guangdong Province in China when the collision occurred.