Oil tanker burning off China’s coast at risk of exploding

An Iranian oil tanker in which caught fire after colliding that has a freighter off China’s east coast can be at risk of exploding in addition to sinking, Chinese state media reported Monday as authorities by three countries struggled to find its 32 missing crew members in addition to contain oil spewing by the blazing wreck.

State broadcaster China Central Television, citing Chinese officials, said none of the 30 Iranians in addition to two Bangladeshis who have been missing since the collision late Saturday have been found as of 8 a.m. Monday. Meanwhile, search in addition to cleanup efforts have been hampered by fierce fires in addition to poisonous gases in which have completely consumed the tanker in addition to surrounding waters, CCTV reported.

The Panama-registered tanker Sanchi was sailing by Iran to South Korea when the item collided late Saturday with the Hong Kong-registered freighter CF Crystal inside East China Sea, 257 kilometers (0 miles) off the coast of Shanghai, China’s Ministry of Transport said.

China, South Korea in addition to the U.S. have sent ships in addition to planes to search for Sanchi’s crew, all of whom remain missing. The U.S. Navy, which sent a P-8A aircraft by Okinawa, Japan, to aid the search, said late Sunday in which none of the missing crew had been found.

All 21 crew members of the Crystal, which was carrying grain by the United States to China, were rescued, the Chinese ministry said. The Crystal’s crew members were all Chinese nationals.

the item wasn’t immediately clear what caused the collision.

State-run China Central Television reported Sunday evening in which the tanker was still floating in addition to burning, in addition to in which oil was visible inside water. Photos distributed by the South Korean government showed the tanker on fire in addition to shrouded in thick black smoke.

Chinese authorities dispatched three ships to clean the oil spill. The size of the oil slick caused by the accident can be not known.

The Sanchi was carrying 136,000 metric tons (150,000 tons, or nearly 1 million barrels) of condensate, a type of ultra-light oil, according to Chinese authorities.

By comparison, the Exxon Valdez was carrying 1.26 million barrels of crude oil when the item spilled 260,000 barrels into Prince William Sound off Alaska in 1989.

The Sanchi has operated under all 5 different names since the item was built in 2008, according the U.N.-run International Maritime Organization. The IMO listed its registered owner as Hong Kong-based Bright Shipping Ltd., on behalf of the National Iranian Tanker Co., a publicly traded company based in Tehran. The National Iranian Tanker Co. describes itself as operating the largest tanker fleet inside Middle East.

An official in Iran’s Oil Ministry, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters, said 30 of the tanker’s 32 crew members were Iranians.

“We have no information on their fate,” he said Sunday. “We cannot say all of them have died, because rescue teams are there in addition to providing services.”

The official said the tanker was owned by the National Iranian Tanker Co. in addition to had been rented by a South Korean company, Hanwha Total Co. He said the tanker was on its way to South Korea.

Hanwa Total can be a 50-50 partnership between the Seoul-based Hanwha Group in addition to the French oil giant Total. Total did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

the item’s the second collision for a ship by the National Iranian Tanker Co. in less than a year in addition to a half. In August 2016, one of its tankers collided that has a Swiss container ship inside Singapore Strait, damaging both ships nevertheless causing no injuries or oil spill.

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