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Monday, 25 February, 2002, 19:13 GMT
Crew missing after US tanker collision
A V Kastner
A search and rescue operation is under way
Rescue workers are searching for four men missing after a tug boat was in a collision with an oil tanker and sank in one of the busiest inland waterways in the United States.

A V Kastner
The A V Kastner collided with the boat
Four other crew members have been rescued.

An oil slick is visible where the collision happened, on the Elk River, Chesapeake City in Maryland, an environmentally sensitive area.

The tug was towing a barge when it was hit by the 165-metre (550-foot)ship, shortly before 0700 (1200 GMT).

Witnesses said the tug capsized and sank in seconds in about 12 metres (40 feet) of water.

The barge partially capsized.

Map showing Chesapeake Bay, MD
The tanker - the A V Kastner - was heading in the opposite direction to the tug at the time of the crash, which happened in foggy weather about a kilometre (half a mile) off shore.

The tanker's owners - USG Corp - have not commented on whether the vessel, which was carrying building materials, was damaged.

The coastguard sealed off the area and about half a dozen rescue boats with divers went to the scene.

See also:

13 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Storm lashes oil spill ship
10 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
New Zealand tackles oil spill
22 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
Oil spill threatens Thai resort
23 Jan 01 | Americas
Spotlight on oil transport risks
07 Aug 01 | Middle East
Gulf oil spill threatens Saudi Arabia
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