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26 dead as Philippines ferry carrying 870 sinksFri, 16 Aug, 2013 | Posted By: The Times Of Earth (TOE)

26 dead as Philippines ferry carrying 870 sinks A body lies in a morgue at a hospital in Cebu, central Philippines on August 17, 2013 (AFP, Chester Baldicantos)
At least 26 people are now confirmed dead after a ferry with nearly 870 people on board sank near the central Philippine port city of Cebu.

A vessel collided with a domestic cargo ship on Friday night on route for Manila, said Rear Admiral Luis Tuazon.

Hundreds of others were rescued.

The passenger said the crew of the ferry distributed life jackets while the ship was slowly sinking.

The captain of the ferry MV Thomas Aquinas ordered the ship abandoned after it began listing and then sank after hitting the cargo vessel, coast guard officer Joy Villegas said.

Two coast guard vessels and other nearby ships were involved in the rescue operation not far from the port of Cebu, Villegas said.

Accidents at sea are common in the Philippine archipelago because of frequent storms, badly maintained boats and weak enforcement of safety regulations.

In June, seven people died when another roll-on, roll-off ferry mysteriously sank in calm waters in the central Philippines.

In 1987, the ferry Dona Paz sank after colliding with a fuel tanker in the Philippines, killing more than 4,000 people in the world's worst peacetime maritime disaster.

In 2008, the ferry MV Princess of the Stars capsised during a typhoon in the central Philippines, killing nearly 800 people.

Source: Agencies
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