Some 230 people have been rescued after a ferry caught fire at sea off the province of Basilan in the southern Philippines.
At least 10 people have died and around 230 have been rescued after a ferry burst into flames off the Philippines’ southern province of Basilan, a coastguard and rescue worker official said.
Nine other people were injured in Wednesday night’s blaze which started in air-conditioned cabins, Commodore Rejard Marfe, head of the Coast Guard in Southern Mindanao, told DZMM radio station.
Photographs shared by the coast guard showed the MV Lady Mary Joy 3 vessel being doused with water, while rescued passengers were brought ashore.
The MV Lady Mary Joy 3 was traveling from the city of Zamboanga on the island of Mindanao to the island of Jolo in the province of Sulu when the fire broke out, prompting passengers to jump overboard, said a first aid to journalists.
A passenger ferry caught fire after 11pm on Wednesday March 29 in waters off Baluk-Baluk Island, Hadji Mutamad in Basilan. Ten people died, nine people were injured and 230 were rescued. 📷 Philippine Coast Guard
— Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) March 30, 2023
Basilan Governor Jim Salliman said there could be more people missing as the number of passengers on board the ship exceeded the 205 stated in the ship’s manifest.
“There are probably passengers who didn’t register on the manifest,” he said. Survivors were taken to Zamboanga and Basilan where the injured were treated for burns, Salliman said.
It is not known how the fire started.
Nixon Alonzo, head of the Basilan disaster management agency, said some passengers jumped overboard when the fire broke out.
“Some of the dead were recovered from the ship and some drowned,” he said. “There were signs of burns in some of the victims.”
The coast guard said they would be involved in a safety investigation and assessment, as well as looking for any signs of an oil spill.
The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, has a poor maritime safety record, with ships often overcrowded and many aging vessels still in service.
In May, at least seven people died after a fire on a Philippine high-speed ferry carrying 134 people.