Ostende Max – Formosa

Fire crews were battling a blaze aboard a Taiwanese oil tanker carrying fuel in the Malacca Strait after it collided with another ship, Malaysian police said yesterday.

Nine Chinese crew were missing after the tanker collided with a Greek-managed bulk carrier on a vital Asian shipping route.

»The MT Formosa Product Brick is on fire and is now listing on its left side. We fear it may sink,» a local marine police chief, Rizal Ramli, said.

»The collision happened last night in clear weather off Port Dickson. We have rescued 16 crew members, mainly of Chinese nationality,» he said.

The police chief of the state of Negeri Sembilan, Osman Saleh, said the ship was heading for South Korea via Singapore.

He said dozens of maritime officials and a total of 11 boats and two helicopters were battling the blaze. »There is some oil spill,» he said.

The Formosa Product Brick was carrying 58,000 tonnes of naphtha oil from Britain to Singapore. It collided with a charcoal-laden MV Ostende Max, also en route to Singapore. Accidents are rare in the narrow Malacca Strait, a vital artery for world trade. »The bulk carrier slammed into the front left side of the Taiwanese tanker,» Mr Rizal said.

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