Philippine ferry carrying 82 people catches fire: 73 rescued

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MANILA, Philippines  — On Friday, a Philippine ferry carrying 82 passengers and crew caught fire as it approached a port south of Manila, and at least 73 of those on board were rescued, according to the coast guard.

The coast guard said that search and rescue efforts for the passengers and crew of the M/V Asia Philippines, an inter-island cargo and passenger vessel that arrived from nearby Calapan city in Oriental Mindoro province, would continue after dark.

One of those rescued, a 44-year-old woman, was taken to the hospital with unspecified injuries.

The coast guard released video showing flames and black smoke billowing from the ferry, which was near other ships more than a kilometer (about a mile) from anchorage waters off Batangas port, according to coast guard officials.

They reported that a ship was assisting two coast guard vessels in their rescue efforts. The cause of the fire was unknown at the time.

According to the coast guard, the ferry can carry up to 400 passengers. In the past, ferries have been caught carrying unregistered passengers in violation of regulations.

Because of frequent storms, poorly maintained boats, overcrowding, and sporadic enforcement of safety regulations, sea accidents are common in the Philippine archipelago, particularly in remote provinces.

The ferry Dona Paz sank in December 1987 after colliding with a fuel tanker, killing over 4,300 people in the world’s worst peacetime maritime disaster.

Source: Reuters

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