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02 March 2024

Philippines ferry sinks: 3 dead

By Agencies

Three people have been killed after a small ferry sank in the Philippines, police said Saturday, the latest in a series of maritime accidents in the archipelago.

The Lady Aime ferry was travelling to Alabat Island from the coastal town of Gumaca, 117 kilometres (72 miles) from Manila, when it sank just 200 metres from shore at 4.40pm on Friday, said Chief Inspector Juan Byron Leogo.

Fishermen on the seashore were able to rescue 60 passengers and four of the crew, but three passengers were killed, said Leogo, the town police chief.

He attributed the sinking to "sudden high and strong waves" and possible "overloading", saying the boat's maximum number of passengers is less than 50.

A police report said part of the boat was destroyed by the waves.

Authorities are considering criminal charges against the ferry owners.

Poorly-maintained, loosely-regulated ferries form the backbone of maritime travel in the Philippines, a sprawling archipelago of 100 million people.

Frequent accidents involving overloaded ferries in recent decades have claimed thousands of lives, including the world's worst peacetime maritime disaster in 1987 when the Dona Paz ferry collided with an oil tanker, leaving more than 4,300 dead.