Search for missing sailors expanded

Updated 2018-01-10 09:31:08 China Daily

A body recovered after two vessels collided in the East China Sea on Saturday was handed to the civil affairs authorities on Tuesday, as the search for the 31 other missing sailors was expanded, the Ministry of Transport said.

According to an earlier statement, the Panama-registered oil tanker Sanchi and Hong Kong cargo ship CR Crystal collided 160 nautical miles east of the Yangtze River estuary.

The accident left 32 crew members-30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis-missing and caused a fire on the hull of Sanchi. The cargo ship's 21 crew members were rescued.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the search and rescue operation had been expanded to an area of 900 square nautical miles. Thirteen vessels were conducting searches, under the command of the Haixun 01, the largest and most modern Chinese maritime patrol ship.

Sanchi was still burning as of Tuesday afternoon, the ministry said.

The cargo ship continued on to Zhoushan, Zhejiang province, on Monday morning and was expected to arrive on Tuesday evening, the ministry said.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, contamination-removal boats have been sent to the site to prevent secondary hazards.

The cause of the collision was under investigation, Lu Kang, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said at Monday's regular news briefing.

Lu said he appreciated that other countries have participated in the search operation. According to the Transport Ministry, the South Korean Coast Guard sent a vessel and rescue helicopter to the site.

The oil tanker was heading from Iran to South Korea. The cargo ship was bound for Guangdong province from the United States.

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