News / Asia

Dozens Dead, Oil Spreading After Philippine Ferry Sinking

A cluster of life rafts floats near the cargo ship Sulpicio Express Siete, Aug. 17, 2013, a day after it collided with a passenger ferry off the waters of Talisay city, Cebu province in central Philippines. Divers combed through a sunken ferry Saturday toA cluster of life rafts floats near the cargo ship Sulpicio Express Siete, Aug. 17, 2013, a day after it collided with a passenger ferry off the waters of Talisay city, Cebu province in central Philippines. Divers combed through a sunken ferry Saturday to
x
A cluster of life rafts floats near the cargo ship Sulpicio Express Siete, Aug. 17, 2013, a day after it collided with a passenger ferry off the waters of Talisay city, Cebu province in central Philippines. Divers combed through a sunken ferry Saturday to
A cluster of life rafts floats near the cargo ship Sulpicio Express Siete, Aug. 17, 2013, a day after it collided with a passenger ferry off the waters of Talisay city, Cebu province in central Philippines. Divers combed through a sunken ferry Saturday to
Philippine officials say at least 38 people - including children - have died and 82 remain missing in the aftermath of a collision between a ferry and a container ship Friday night.  Search and rescue efforts continue as leaking oil spreads from the sunken ferry.

The Philippine Coast Guard says search and rescue work will be downgraded to recovery and retrieval of bodies once 48 hours have passed from the time of the accident.  

Central Philippines Coast Guard Commander Weniel Azcuna says divers are having a hard time getting inside the M-V St. Thomas Aquinas, which sank within minutes of the collision.

 “As we speak now, the winds and the waves [are] quite strong here at the scene of the sunken vessel,” Abaya said.

Monsoon rains combining with a typhoon in the extreme north of the country are to blame.

Azcuna says the bad weather has also hampered efforts to contain oil leaking from the Aquinas, which has a fuel capacity of 120,000 liters.  He says a contractor is using a chemical dispersant on the oil.

The Aquinas was heading for a stop in Cebu City in the central Philippines, before going on to Manila when the Sulpicio Express 7 cargo ship hit it.  Officials say the two vessels were passing each other in a 550-meter-wide shilling channel off Talisay Town, near Cebu.  

The Aquinas was carrying approximately 830 passengers and crew.  Its manifest included scores of infants and children.

2Go Group, which owns the Aquinas, says upon impact the vessel's crew ordered everyone to “abandon ship” and handed out life vests. Survivors say hundreds jumped overboard and local fishermen helped rescue some of them.

Coast Guard officials had said the investigation would start once search and rescue operations were completed.

However, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya says his department’s maritime industry regulating body already issued fleet-wide suspensions of safety certificates for both shipping lines.  

Abaya says the official investigation is expected to begin within a few days, and depending on findings, whomever is at fault could see a “full range of penalties.”

“It goes from suspension of license, cancellation of license, cancellation of the certificate of public convenience (government approval to run a passenger or cargo franchise), or [its] suspension for a certain period, before operation again,” Abaya said.

The Philippines, made up of more than 7,100 islands, is notorious for shipping mishaps caused by bad weather, poorly maintained fleets and lax enforcement of regulations.

In 1987, the M-V Doña Paz ferry and an oil tanker collided in bad weather, also in the central Philippines, killing more than 4,300 people.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More