World News

32 Sailors Missing After Ships Collide Off China’s East Coast

Posted January 7, 2018 12:59 p.m. EST

SHANGHAI — Chinese and South Korean authorities on Sunday were searching for 32 crew members who went missing after their oil tanker collided with another ship off China’s east coast the night before.

The site of the collision, which happened roughly 160 miles out to sea off the coast of Shanghai at 8 p.m. Saturday night, according to China’s Ministry of Transportation, is in the middle of seas with heavy shipping traffic between China and South Korea.

The oil tanker, registered in Panama, collided with a bulk freighter registered in Hong Kong. The government said that all 21 crew members of the bulk freighter had been rescued, while the 32 missing were from the oil tanker.

Of those missing, 30 are Iranian nationals and two are from Bangladesh, according to the Chinese government. The 21 rescued are all Chinese nationals.

A photo posted by China’s state news media showed a large plume of black smoke rising from the waters behind a single ship amid low, overcast clouds.

In an article, Xinhua, the Chinese state-run news agency, said China had sent eight search and rescue vessels while Shanghai’s fire department sent experts to advise on combating the fire. South Korea sent a fixed wing plane and Coast Guard vessel to help with the efforts.

While the extent of the fire or any spillage of oil is not clear, China’s state news media said that the oil tanker, which is owned by an Iranian company, is about 900 feet long and was carrying 136,000 metric tons of oil.