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9 dead Chinese sailors found after tanker fire

world Updated: Aug 23, 2009 14:29 IST

Malaysian rescuers recovered the charred remains of nine Chinese sailors who went missing after an oil tanker caught fire after colliding with another vessel, a marine official said on Sunday.

The bodies of two crew members trapped in the Liberian-registered Formasaproduct Brick were found Friday and another seven yesterday, First Adm Tan Kok Kwee of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency said.

The tanker was carrying more than 50,000 tons of naphtha from the United Arab Emirates to South Korea when a Britain-registered bulk carrier rammed into its rear late on Tuesday in the Malacca Strait, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

Firefighters took more than 30 hours to put out the blaze. Rescue efforts were hindered by rough sea conditions and salvage work to stabilise the ship, officials said. Tan said there was no spillage and marine authorities would assess the damage before releasing the vessel.

Accidents in the Malacca Strait, which separates peninsular Malaysia from Indonesia's Sumatra island, are rare even though some 70,000 vessels use the waterway annually. Traffic was not affected by the collision and fire.