At least 32 people onboard an oil tanker are missing after it collided with a bulk freighter off China’s east coast on Saturday evening, Xinhua news agency reported. The Panama-registered oil tanker reportedly caught fire after the collision. A search operation was launched and eight vessels have been dispatched by the Chinese maritime authorities to rescue the missing crew members.
The collision between the Panama-registered oil tanker and the Hong Kong-registered bulk freighter occurred at around 8 pm in waters about 160 sea miles east of the Yangtze River’s estuary near Shanghai, China’s Ministry of Transport said.
According to reports, the tanker had 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis on board and was sailing from Iran to South Korea. “Sanchi is floating and burning as of now. There is an oil slick and we are pushing forward with rescue efforts,” the ministry said, adding it had dispatched four rescue ships and three cleaning boats to the site as of 9 am, Reuters reported. Twenty-one crew members, all Chinese nationals, on the bulk freighter were rescued last night.
The Republic of Korea has also dispatched a coast guard ship and a helicopter to assist in the search and rescue operations. State media CCTV showed photos of the tanker ablaze and billowing plumes of thick dark smoke.