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Tanker Ablaze, Spilling Oil After Colliding with Container Ship

September 20, 1992

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) _ A Japanese oil tanker and a Hong Kong container ship collided in the Straits of Malacca Sunday and caught fire, killing at least one person, officials said.

Eighteen of the 46 crewmen of the two ships had been reported rescued.

Indonesian maritime officials in Jakarta said the vessels still were burning 16 hours after the collision in the upper part of the Straits of Malacca, a busy shipping corridor separating Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

A U.S. Embassy official said a helicopter from the U.S. Navy supply ship USS Niagara Falls picked up one body five miles from the Japanese-owned tanker Nagasaki Spirit. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

The embassy spokesman and the Indonesian maritime officials said 18 of the 25 crew members aboard the oil tanker, the 95,000-ton Nagasaki Spirit, had been rescued.

The fate of the 21 crew members aboard the ship from Hong Kong, the 22,600- ton Ocean Blessing, was not immediately known.

Indonesian officials said burning oil from the tanker was spilling into the sea, but the U.S. Embassy spokesman said helicopters from the USS Niagara flew over the area and no large oil slick was spotted.

Update hourly