An Iranian oil tanker that caught fire after it collided with a Chinese cargo ship Saturday off China’s east coast is at risk of exploding and sinking, Chinese state media (CCTV) reported Monday, citing officials and experts on the rescue team.
The tanker’s crew of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis has been missing since the collision late Saturday, however, news agencies are reporting that one body was found on board Monday morning.
The Panama-registered tanker Sanchi was sailing from Iran to South Korea when it slammed into the Hong Kong-registered CF Crystal about 257 kilometers off the coast of Shanghai.
The 21 crew members — all Chinese nationals — of the Crystal, which was carrying grain from the United States to China, were rescued.
The collision caused the tanker — carrying 136,000 metric tons of oil — to burst into flames.
China, South Korea and the U.S. Navy have deployed ships and aircraft to assist with the search for the missing crewmen.
The size of the oil spill has not been determined, nor has the cause of the collision.
Saturday’s is the second collision for a ship owned by the National Iranian Tanker Co. in less than a year and a half.
In August 2016, one of its tankers collided with a Swiss container ship in the Singapore Strait, damaging both ships but causing no injuries or oil spill.