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April 6, 2010

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2 Filipino crew missing after blaze on vessel

TWO Filipino crewmen were still missing last night at the mouth of the Yangtze River after a fire engulfed their cargo vessel.

The Shanghai-based Donghai Rescue Bureau said two rescue ships and other emergency service personnel would try to get on board to search for the missing sailors once the blazing ship became stable.

The Panama-flagged Golden Crux 18, an unloaded liquefied gas tanker, was reported on fire about 10:35pm on Sunday while sailing near the No.2 anchorage at the mouth of the Yangtze, the bureau said.

The fire was started by an explosion in the engine room and spread, according to bureau spokesman Liu Luxing.

Twelve of the 14 crewmen abandoned their ship and escaped on a lifeboat but the other two on duty in the cabin were trapped.

The bureau said the lifeboat was rescued at 12:16am yesterday and the 12 crewmen, one Burmese and 11 Filipinos, were unhurt.

The flames were doused yesterday but thick smoke could still be seen in the afternoon.

Rescue ships kept hosing the stricken vessel to prevent a renewed outbreak.

"The situation was complicated ... it's not easy to put out a fire on the sea," Liu told Shanghai Daily.

The cause of the explosion remained unclear, Liu said.

The tanker, 95 meters long, 15m wide and 3,000 tons, was bound for South Korea from Nantong in Shanghai's neighboring Jiangsu Province for a liquefied gas cargo.


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