Tanker Collision, 32 Missing

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All of the 21 Chinese crew members were rescued from the CF Crystal, which suffered only "non-critical" damage in the crash, according to Reuters.

An Iranian oil tanker carrying ultra light crude to South Korea collided with a Chinese cargo vessel and is now burning in the East China Sea waters.

A tanker has collided with a bulk carrier in the East China Sea, leaving 32, the entire tanker crew, missing.

State media reports that China dispatched several vessels to search for and rescue crew members as the vessel burned. "Sanchi is floating and burning as of now", it said in a statement.

The size of the oil slick spilling from the Sanchi is not now known. Sanchi was carrying 136,000 tonnes of condensate, base oil, worth $60m. A Korean Coast Guard official confirmed the tanker was still on fire at 1 p.m. (0500 GMT).

It had sent four rescue ships and three cleaning boats to site by 9 a.m. (0100 GMT), it added.

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Dramatic pictures show plumes of black smoke rising from the scene as the ship is engulfed by a huge fire.

The Panamanian-flagged 274-metre (899-foot) tanker "Sanchi" was operated by Iran's Glory Shipping and was heading to South Korea with its cargo, the ministry said.

The Sanchi tanker, leased by Hanwha Total Petrochemical Co Ltd, had "valid foreign insurance", Iranian oil ministry spokesman Kasra Nouri told Iran's state television.

The Chinese ministry said the second ship in the collision was a Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship carrying 64,000 tons of grain. It was due to arrive on January 10, according to Reuters ship tracking data.

The tanker crew consists of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis.

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