A collision between a Chinese ship and a Belgian cargo vessel has resulted in an oil spill in waters off northern China.

The Chinese oil supply ship hit the stern of the Belgian vessel Lowlands Prosperity, which was docked at the Caofeidian port, a steelmaking and energy base in north-eastern Hebei province, Associated Press reports.

The 290m Belgian vessel was readying to unload and refuel when the Jinyou No. 1 crashed into it, damaging its hull.

The provincial maritime department has dispatched workers and ships to the site for cleanup operations, the news service said.