Thirty-two people are missing after an oil tanker collided with a ship in a region of the East China sea being labelled the "new Bermuda Triangle".
A statement from Ministry of Transport of the People's Republic of China said "the accident caused the vessel Sanchi to (catch) fire on the whole vessel and the vessel was tilted to the right and the crew was lost".
The Sanchi was on its way to South Korea when it collided with the CF Crystal, a Hong Kong-registered bulk freighter that was transporting grain.
The collision between an oil tanker and a cargo ship occurred about 160 nautical miles (296 km) off the coast of Shanghai.
The tanker "is in danger of explosion and sinking, and the toxic gas... is very harmful to rescue workers on the scene", authorities warned Tuesday.
The U.S. Navy sent a military aircraft to assist with the search, China Daily reported on Monday.
The Crystal's 21 Chinese crew members were rescued, but most of the 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis from the Sanchi are still missing.
Talking to reporters outside Government House on Monday, Mr Prayut turned the media's attention to the life-size likeness after an aide dutifully placed the cut-out in front of a microphone. The cargo ship reportedly suffered damage but all crew members were rescued.
Eight Chinese ships and a South Korean coast guard ship and helicopter were mobilized in the search for survivors. "In the longer term, it is expected that there will be a full investigation into this incident and that the results and findings will be brought to IMO so that we can do whatever may be necessary to reduce the chances of such an incident happening again".
The National Iranian Tanker Co., which carried internationally-credited insurance, said it had formed an emergency committee to investigate the cause of the incident.
Chinese officials recently said that no large oil spill has been detected.
Park said it's unlikely the oil will spread to South Korea at the moment because the tanker has moved 100 kilometres (62 miles) to the southeast.
Satellite imagery of the ship showed the blaze has weakened since the weekend, although the strong winds are dragging the tanker away from the Chinese coast, according to Greenpeace. The one million barrels of condensate are said to be worth around $60 million.