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Oil spill, large fire in Strait of Malacca

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  • Oil spill, large fire in Strait of Malacca

    From RSOE EDIS ( I'm posting this because of the location. A large fire here could result in respiratory problems in Malaysia and Indonesia, both places we have been tracking,

    Malaysian rescuers Wednesday searched for survivors and worked to contain a major oil spill after a Liberian-registered oil tanker burst into flames in the Malacca Strait, officials said. The tanker collided with a British bulk carrier late Tuesday, resulting in a massive explosion and flames visible from the beach town of Port Dickson in the southern state of Negeri Sembilan. The cause of the collision between the tanker, which was carrying 58,000 tons of naphtha oil from Britain to Singapore, and the charcoal-laden MV Ostende Max, has yet to be determined, rescue officers said. Firefighters and marine rescue department officers began searching for nine missing crew members from the oil tanker early Wednesday, Port Dickson police chief Mazlan Othman said. As of 1400 GMT, rescue officers had yet to find the nine crew. Mazlan said the oil tanker had a total of 25 crew, 23 of them Chinese nationals and two from Taiwan. He said the rescued crew were found on a life raft not far from the vessel. He said 13 of the rescued crew members received outpatient treatment at a local hospital and were currently staying at a hotel, while three others have been admitted for treatment of smoke inhalation and minor burns. The British bulk carrier, which had left Port Dickson and was headed to Singapore, had been towed back to the Malaysian port where three of its crew members were being treated for burns and injuries. He said the three injured have been identified as Polish nationals, aged between 38 and 62. Mazlan also said environmental officers at the site of the collision have said the oil spill was under control, adding that officials would continue checking the area. "The fire is still burning strongly on board the ship which is now tilting, and rescue officers still are unable to board the vessel," Mazlan said later Wednesday. Officers have said rescue and clean-up efforts are also being hampered by rough sea conditions. "We could not approach the tanker due to the intense heat. In fact we could feel the heat 5 kilometres away from the burning ship," Mazlan was quoted as saying earlier. The Malacca Strait, one of the world's busiest waterways, is bordered by Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.)