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Two more ferry tragedies in the Philippines

Two more ferry tragedies in the Philippines

Manila: At least six people died and 22 others were missing after passenger ro-ro ferry Baleno-9 sank off Batangas City Saturday night, the second maritime disaster in three days. Search and rescue teams rescued at least 60 passengers and crew and are still scouring the seas for others still unaccounted for.

Baleno-9, carrying 88 passengers and crew, began listing and went down just before midnight off Isla Verde Passage. Officials said the ship had a capacity of 284 passengers and was not overloaded  but operations of Besta Shipping Lines, owner of the ill-fated vessel, were ordered suspended Sunday after the tragedy pending a full investigation.

The latest ship disaster came after a December 24 collision between wooden-hulled ferry Cathalyn-B and fishing vessel Anatalya off Cavite province, in which 24 were missing and feared dead and three bodies had been found by Sunday. The operations of the two shipping companies involved, San Nicolas and PhilMariner Aquaventures Corp, were also suspended by President Arroyo.

Sadly serious maritime accidents are only too common in the Philippine archipelago.
Last year, a ferry overturned during a powerful typhoon, killing more than 800 people on board. And in December 1987, the ferry Dona Paz sank (pictured) after colliding with a fuel tanker, killing more than 4,341 people in the world's worst peacetime maritime disaster. [28/12/09]