Philippine coast guard rescues 120 people as ferry catches fire

By Reuters   June 17, 2023 | 10:51 pm PT
Philippine coast guard rescues 120 people as ferry catches fire
Philippine Coast Guard personnel assist in putting out the fire on M/V Esperanza Star at the waters off Panglao, Bohol province, central Philippines, June 18, 2023. Photo by Philippine Coast Guard
All 120 people onboard a ferry that caught fire at sea in central Philippines on Sunday have been rescued, the coast guard said.

The M/V Esperanza Star, which was carrying 65 passengers and 55 officers and crew members, caught fire while sailing from Siquijor island in the south to nearby Bohol island, the coast guard said.

Coast guard firefighters onboard another vessel used a water canon and declared the fire out by around 0200 GMT, a spokesperson said. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

Two coast guard vessels involved in firefighting and rescue operations were still in waters in the vicinity of the fire. The whereabouts and conditions of the rescued passengers and crew members were not disclosed.

The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, has a poor record for maritime safety, with vessels often overcrowded and many aging ships in use.

In March, a ferry carrying about 250 people also caught fire in southern Philippines, leading to the deaths more than two dozen people including a six-month old baby.

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