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About 32 missing after giant ships collide in East China Sea

An oil tanker and a cargo ship have collided off the eastern coast of China, leaving 32 people missing.

According to Press TV, the collision occurred between the massive Panama-registered oil tanker “Sanchi” and the huge Hong Kong freighter “CF Crystal” in the East China Sea on Saturday at around 20:00 (12:00 GMT), according to reports in the Chinese media, which cited the Chinese Ministry of Transport on Sunday.

The tanker, which was carrying 136,000 tonnes of condensed oil for South Korea, “caught fire,” according to the ministry’s statement.

Reports said 30 Iranian and two Bangladeshi sailors went missing in the collision. The reports could not be independently verified.

Search and rescue operations were underway.

​The ministry added that the Chinese cargo ship with 21 sailors was carrying 64,000 tons of grain from the United States to the Guangdong Province of China and had not “not suffered damage endangering her safety” and that her crew had been rescued.

Chinese officials dispatched several maritime police vessels, two rescue boats, and three professional cleaning ships to the area, located 160 nautical miles east of the mouth of the Yangtze River.

Firefighters were also deployed to the site to help battle the flames, and the South Korean Marine Police Agency dispatched a marine police ship and a fixed-wing aircraft to help with the search and rescue operation.