ACCIDENTS | Six missing in VLCC collision

A smash between a Euronav VLCC and a Chinese general cargoship off China on Tuesday has left one vessel sunk and a number of crew missing.

The collision between the 305,700-dwt Flandre (built 2004) and a vessel named as Hua Chi 8 occurred off Zhejiang province at around 11:00 local time, a Euronav spokesperson confirmed to TradeWinds.

Around six people are believed to still be missing from the Chinese vessel, described as a coaster, which is understood to have sunk as a result of the collision.

None of the crew members, believed to number around 22, of the France-flagged VLCC have been injured.

One source at Belgian owner Euronav initially said that the tanker is undamaged. However, another designated spokesperson said he believes there is some minor damage to the ship’s bulbous bow.

There is understood to be no pollution as a result of the incident as the Flandre was travelling in ballast. The nature of the cargo onboard the sunken Hua Chi 8 is unknown as is its original number of crew.

The VLCC, which is classed by Lloyd’s Register and has P&I cover with the West of England, had a pilot onboard at the time of the smash. The pilot remains onboard while the ship has safely anchored. It was travelling from the Chinese port of Ningbo to the UAE at the time of the collision.

There is no early indication as to what may have caused the collision. The Euronav spokesperson said that weather conditions in the area are currently “very bad” but conditions at the time of the incident are unknown. “All appropriate authorities have been advised of the incident,” the spokesperson continued. It is understood, however, that some charterers connected with the tanker have yet to be informed.

A report in Reuters put the number of people missing from the Chinese ship at six. The Euronav spokesperson, although unaware of the exact number, said it was “around five or six”.

A report from Chinese state news agency Xinhua, citing a spokesperson for the Zhejiang Maritime Safety Administration, put the total number of crew onboard the Hua Chi 8 at seven with one rescued.

There is no ship matching the name ‘Hua Chi 8’ in numerous shipping databases making it likely it was a very small vessel.

The Flandre is 100% owned by Antwerp-based Euronav. It is currently on spot charter.

Source: Tradewinds

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