Philippines: 12 dead as ferry sank

MANILA: Twelve people, including a Japanese national, were killed and 57 rescued after a ferry sank in waters south of the Philippine capital on Saturday, the coast guard said.

The boat, the MV Commander 6, was carrying people from Batangas to a resort beach on the island of Mindoro when it was hit by large waves which cracked its hull, causing the vessel to sink, the coast guard report said.

Among the dead was a Japanese identified by survivors as Shoji Hosotani, said local police Chief Superintendent Luisito Palmera. However he said he could give no further details on the deceased.

Coast guard rescue vessels and private boats rushed to the scene to rescue people after the boat sank. There were no immediate reports on whether any of the people on board were still missing.

The boat had only 42 people on its manifest, indicating that many people had boarded without being listed, coast guard officials said.

Small, poorly-maintained ferries are the backbone of inter-island travel in this archipelagic country and many ferry owners resort to overloading their vessels, leading to frequent maritime mishaps.