One body had been recovered as of Monday morning at the site where two vessels collided in the East China Sea on Saturday evening, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday.
The identity of the victim, whose body was recovered by a Chinese rescue ship at 10:30 am, was not yet confirmed, said Lu Kang, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at a regular news briefing.
According to an earlier statement from the Ministry of Transport, 32 crew members－30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis－were missing after the collision off China's east coast. The collision occurred about 8 pm when the Panama-registered oil tanker Sanchi and the Hong Kong cargo ship CR Crystal collided 160 nautical miles east of the Yangtze River estuary. The cargo ship's 21 crew members were rescued.
"Some contamination-removal boats have been sent to the site to prevent secondary hazards," Lu said. He said he appreciated that some countries have participated in the search and rescue operation. According to an earlier media report, the South Korean Coast Guard sent a vessel and rescue helicopter to the site.
The cause of the collision was under investigation, he added.
"The most urgent mission is what the Chinese government is doing－conducting search and rescue, as well as removing contamination," he said.
As of 8 am on Monday, the hull of the Sanchi was leaking oil and the ship was at risk of exploding or sinking, posing a danger to the rescue team, the Transport Ministry said.
The Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration issued a warning on Monday to prevent passing vessels from entering an area within a radius of 10 nautical miles of the collision site.