China detains 20 Maltese ship crew after deadly collision: Report

BEIJING (AFP) - China has detained 20 crew from a Maltese freighter which collided with a Chinese fishing boat leaving 17 missing and two dead, state media said Sunday (May 8).

The crew, including the ship's captain, are "under investigation" by border and maritime authorities after being detained at the eastern port city of Ningbo, the state-run China National Radio said in a brief report.

The Chinese boat, named Lu Rong Yu, collided with a Maltese ship early Saturday in the East China Sea, state broadcaster China Central Television reported earlier.

Passing ships rescued two additional passengers who later died, the report said, adding that search and rescue operations were ongoing.

China National Radio did not state the nationalities of the detained crew members.

The incident occurs as China's pursuit of wide-ranging territorial claims in the East and South China Seas raises regional tensions.