Owner, crew of capsized ferry charged with murder

MANILA: Philippine police have filed murder charges against the owner and crew of a passenger ferry that capsized killing 59 people, an official said on Saturday.

The charges were filed late yesterday in the central city of Ormoc over the sinking of the Kim Nirvana ship, according to regional police chief Asher Dolina.

An initial police probe and interviews with survivors indicated the vessel abruptly turned in waters off the central port of Ormoc on Thursday, causing it to capsize, Dolina told AFP. “They were not careful, showing there was an intent to kill. They were reckless,” Dolina said.

A total of 19 people were charged, including ship operator Joge Bong Zarco, captain Warren Oliviero, and all 17 crew members, according to Dolina.

All members of crew survived and are now in police custody.

Under Philippine law, murder is punishable by up to 40 years imprisonment.

The police investigation is separate from a coast guard inquiry, which will primarily determine the cause of the accident. However, the coast guard may also recommend criminal and administrative charges.