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Crew of flaming tanker still missing after Malacca Strait collision; no oil spill

Kuala Lumpur: Nine crew members onboard Liberia registered MT Formosa Product Brick are still reported to be missing after the Taiwanese tanker collided with Greek bulk carrier MV Ostende Max in the Malacca Strait last night (Tuesday, August 18). Local authorities have confirmed that 16 of the tanker's crew have successfully been rescued and rescue efforts continue for the missing men.

Malaysian newswire Bernama reports that although there has been no oil spill from the Formosa Product Brick, the vessel is on fire. It was said to be carrying a 58,000 tonne cargo of inflammable naptha fuel.

"As of 6pm, the fire on the MT Formosa Product Brick is still intense. The tanker is listing and rescue workers have yet to board it," Port Dickson police chief Supt Mazlan Othman is quoted as saying, adding that the Department of Environment (DOE) would continue to monitor the waters. "Rescue workers can't board the tanker because of the high risk involved. However, the fire has been brought under control."

The Polish crew of the bulker are reported to be in a stable condition, although three members have been given medical attention for injuries such as minor burns and a fractured rib. The vessels itself has been towed away.

The newswire states that representatives from the Chinese embassy, insurance and vessel owners are already in the area to assess the damage caused by the fire.

There has been no official explanation given for the collision at this time.  [19/08/09]

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