MANILA (Reuters): Ten people have died and 230 have been rescued after a passenger ferry caught fire on Wednesday (March 30) evening in the seas off the southern Philippine province of Basilan, a coast guard official said.
Nine people were injured in the fire that started in air-conditioned cabins, Commodore Rejard Marfe, coast guard chief in southern Mindanao, told the DZMM radio station. The ferry has a capacity to carry up to 430 people.
Photographs shared by the Coast Guard showed the MV Lady Mary Joy 3 ship being sprayed with water, while rescued passengers were brought to the shore.
The Coast Guard said it will assist in an investigation and safety assessment, as well check for any signs of an oil spill.
The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, has a poor record for maritime safety, with vessels often overcrowded and many ageing ships still in use.
In May, at least seven people died after a fire in a high-speed Philippine ferry carrying 134 people.