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China’s state broadcaster CCTV showed the Sanchi tanker, which was carrying around one million barrels of light crude, engulfed in thick, black smoke. Maritime officials feared a large spill since the tanker was carrying nearly as much oil as the Exxon Valdez, which spilled 260,000 barrels into Prince William Sound off Alaska in 1989.
“The Sanchi is floating and burning,” China’s Ministry of Transportation said. “There is an oil slick and we are pushing forward with rescue efforts.”
The tanker, operated by National Iranian Tanker Co., or NITC, a state controlled shipping firm, collided late on Saturday with the Hong Kong-registered CF Crystal, according to the firm and the ministry. The collision occurred about 184 miles off the Shanghai coast.
The Sanchi is 274 meters (899 feet) long. It had a crew of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis who were missing, according to Iranian and Chinese officials. It was on its way from Iran’s Kharg Island to Daesan in South Korea.
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