A tanker has collided with a bulk carrier in the East China Sea, leaving 32, the entire tanker crew, missing.
The tanker crew consists of 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis.
The tanker was carrying 136,000 tons (nearly one million barrels) of condensate and headed for South Korea. By comparison, the Exxon Valdez was carrying 1.26 million barrels of crude oil when it spilled 260,000 barrels into Prince William Sound off Alaska in 1989.
Dramatic pictures show plumes of black smoke rising from the scene as the ship is engulfed by a huge fire.
It had sent four rescue ships and three cleaning boats to the site by 9 a.m. (0100 GMT) on Sunday, the ministry added. CF Crystal's 21 Chinese crew members were rescued and the ship suffered "non-critical" damage, the ministry reports.
Thirty-two people are missing after an Iranian oil tanker collided with a Chinese vessel off Shanghai late on Saturday. The ministry said oil spilled into the sea, but did not specify the area of contamination.
About 63,000 tonnes of its cargo leaked into the Atlantic, damaging beaches in France, Spain and Portugal and forcing the closure of Spain's richest fishing grounds.
This is the first major accident involving an Iranian oil tanker since global sanctions were lifted in January 2016. The Foreign Ministry said in a separate statement that the cause of the incident was under investigation.
The Sanchi has operated under five different names since it was built in 2008, according the UN-run International Maritime Organisation. Its registered owner is Bright Shipping Ltd.
Hanwha Total was not immediately available for comment.
"We have no information on their fate", he said.
The Chinese ministry said the second ship in the collision was a Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship carrying 64,000 tons of grain.