Dozens missing after tanker collision in East China Sea

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An oil tanker’s crew — including 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis — was unaccounted for on Sunday after the vessel crashed into a bulk freighter off the coast of Shanghai, China’s Transport Ministry said.

The Panama-registered tanker spilled oil and was “completely lost to fire,” the ministry added.

Images broadcast on state television showed thick black smoke billowing from the 274-meter-long (900-foot-long) burning vessel.

Chinese authorities said they had sent police vessels and cleaning ships to the scene, while South Korea dispatched a coast guard ship and a rescue plane to help in the rescue operation.

The stricken tanker was transporting 136,000 tons of oil condensate from Iran to South Korea when it collided with the Hong Kong-registered freighter CF Crystal late Saturday about 250 kilometers (160 miles) off China’s east coast.

The cargo ship, which was carrying grain, suffered some damage but “without jeopardizing the safety of the ship,” the ministry said. The 21 Chinese crew aboard the Crystal have been rescued.

nm/ (AP, AFP)