Tanker Collision, 32 Missing

A fiery collision at sea has left 32 crew members missing, after a tanker carrying Iranian oil crashed into a Chinese freight ship on Saturday.

. China sent four rescue ships and three cleaning boats to the site, while South Korea dispatched a ship and a helicopter.

The Chinese vessel had been damaged but "the safety of the ship was not jeopardized" and all its 21 Chinese crew had been rescued, officials from the Ministry of Transport said.

The Iranian oil ministry's official website reported that the "Sanchi tanker", heading to South Korea and registered in Panama, collided with the CF Crystal some 160 nautical miles off the coast near Shanghai. The Crystal's crew members were all Chinese nationals.

The Chinese and South Korean Coast Guard's are responding.

Iran's oil ministry has confirmed that at least 30 Iranian citizens were missing in oil tanker incident.

The Iranian tanker, Sanchi, is ablaze and leaking oil after colliding with the Hong Kong-registered vessel CF Crystal. "There is an oil slick and we are pushing forward with rescue efforts".

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An operation was underway to rescue the crew members, believed to be 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis, according to the Xinhua news agency.

Chinese state media CCTV showed pictures of the tanker ablaze and billowing plumes of thick dark smoke.

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

The Panamanian-flagged oil tanker Sanchi was being operated by Iran's Glory Shipping.

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

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