Page last updated at 04:42 GMT, Wednesday, 19 August 2009 05:42 UK

Malacca Straits tanker on fire

Tanker on fire in Malacca Straits - 19 August 2009
The tanker and a cargo ship collided in clear weather, police said

Firefighters are battling a fire on board an oil tanker which collided with a bulk carrier in the Malacca Straits.

Malaysian police say that nine sailors - Chinese and Taiwanese - are missing after the collision, which occurred late on Tuesday.

The tanker was listing on its side and could sink, marine police said.

Traffic in the busy straits was said to be unaffected. About 70,000 ships use the narrow Malacca Straits each year, but collisions are rare.

Local police chief Mazlan Othman said about 40 firefighters were trying to control the blaze on the Liberian-registered tanker, which collided with the British-registered and Greek-managed bulk carrier.

Mr Mazlan said 15 Chinese and one Taiwanese sailor were rescued, but eight Chinese and another Taiwanese remained missing.

The fire could be seen from Port Dickson in Malaysia, near the site of the accident.

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