01/08/2018, 09.00
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Iranian tanker collides with a Chinese ship. Ecological disaster and 32 sailors missing

Flames and smoke hinder the recovery operations of the missing. The tanker carried about 1 million barrels. The leaking oil is "condensed" and easily mixes with water.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - An Iranian tanker collided with a Chinese freighter off the East China Sea. The 32 crew members of the oil tanker, 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis are still missing. The 21 members of the Chinese crew are all safe.

The collision took place on 6 January at about 160 nautical miles from the Yangtze River Delta. The Chinese transport ministry communicates that there is an oil spill.

After the clash, the Sanchi tanker, registered as Panamanian, went on fire and is still burning today. Long columns of smoke rise from the tanker and the recovery operations of the missing are blocked by the flames.

The oil tanker had left the island of Kharg in Iran  bound for the port of Daesan in South Korea and was expected to arrive by 10 January. It transported 136 thousand tons, about one million barrels, of a very light type of crude, called "condensate", very dangerous for pollution. In fact, it evaporates easily and mixes with water much more than normal crude oil. Furthermore, the substance is colorless and odorless and more difficult to detect.

The Chinese freighter - registered in Hong Kong - was carrying grain from the United States to Guangdong. The cause of the collision is still unknown.

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