Friday, 23 August, 2019

Iranian Oil Tanker Burns, 32 Missing After Collision Off China's Coast

Patty Aguilar | 07 January, 2018, 18:47

The AP reports that an official in Iran's Oil Ministry said 30 of the tanker's 32 crew members were Iranians.

The Panama-registered tanker "Sanchi" was sailing from Iran to South Korea carrying 136,000 tonnes of crude oil when it collided with a Chinese freighter, Reuters reports.

The other vessel had been damaged but "without jeopardising the safety of the ship" and all its 21 Chinese crew had been rescued, it added in a statement.

A search operation has been launched off the eastern coast of China for the 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis who remain unaccounted for following the blaze.

South Korea's coast guard has sent a ship and an airplane to assist the search effort.

The tanker - carrying almost a million barrels of oil, worth about US$60m - had been sailing to Daesan in South Korea from Kharg Island in Iran, according to Reuters shipping data.

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Thick clouds of dark smoke could be seen billowing out of the Sanchi tanker, engulfing the vessel as rescue efforts were hampered by bad weather and fire on and around the ship, Mohammad Rastad, head of Iran's Ports and Maritime Organisation, told Iranian television.

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

The official said the tanker was owned by the National Iranian Tanker Co. and had been rented by a South Korean company, Hanwha Total Co.

Hanwha Total was not immediately available for comment.

The Hong Kong-registered cargo ship, CF Crystal, was carrying 64,000 tonnes of grain from the United States to Guangdong, a southern province of China. In August 2016, one of its tankers collided with a Swiss container ship in the Singapore Strait, damaging both ships but causing no injuries or oil spill.

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