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Iranian tanker ablaze off China amid fears of oil spill

Crew of 32 missing after tanker collides with freighter roughly 300km off the coast of Shanghai.

Iranian tanker ablaze

An Iranian oil tanker collided with a bulk freighter and caught fire off China's eastern coast, leaving its entire crew of 32 missing, most of them Iranians, authorities said.

The collision between the Sanchi and the Chinese freighter occurred on Saturday evening roughly 300km off Shanghai, where the Yangtze River meets the East China Sea. 

The missing - 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis - are all from the Sanchi tanker, which spilled oil and was floating while still burning early on Sunday, Chinese maritime authorities said. 

It was not immediately clear what caused the collision.

The Sanchi ship has operated under five different names since it was built in 2008, according the UN-run International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The IMO listed its registered owner as Hong Kong-based Bright Shipping Ltd., care of the National Iranian Tanker Co., a publicly traded company based in Tehran.

It is the second collision for a ship from 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 to spill.

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