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Saturday, August 17, 2013

26 Dead,200 Missing as Philippine Ferry Collided with a Cargo Ship

A ferry with nearly 900 people on board sank near the central Philippine port of Cebu after colliding with a domestic cargo ship on Friday night on route for Manila leaving at least 26 people dead and more than 200 people missing. Some 690 of people have been rescued from the waters by dozens of fishing boats that rushed to the area, local radio reported.

A passenger told radio station DZBB that some people were trapped and he saw bodies in the water."It seems that we were not able to get out. I pity the children. We saw dead bodies on the side, and some being rescued," he said.

The captain of the ferry MV Thomas Aquinas ordered the ship abandoned.One passenger said the crew of the ferry distributed life jackets while the ship was slowly sinking and then sank after hitting the cargo vessel, coastguard officer Joy Villegas said.

Two coastguard vessels and other nearby ships were involved in the rescue operation not far from the port of Cebu.

Accidents at sea are common in the Philippine archipelago because of old vessels which can barely survive during storms which always visit the country and weak enforcement of safety regulations.In 1987, the ferry Dona Paz sank after colliding with a fuel tanker in the Philippines, killing more than 4,000 people in the world's worst peacetime maritime disaster. The vessel was also owned by Sulpicio Lines Inc, which owns the Sulpicio Express 7, the cargo ship that collided with the ferry, MV Thomas Aquinas.

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