Nine people have been reported missing after a fire broke out on a passenger vessel off the coast of Batangas province, Philippines, on Friday, August 26.
The Ro-Pax ferry Asia Philippines was underway one nautical mile off the coast in the Batangas Anchorage Area when a blaze ignited in an unspecified section of the vessel at around 17:59 local time on Friday.
The Philippine Coast Guard deployed two vessels to conduct search and rescue (SAR) operations while a number of civilian tugs assisted in the firefighting effort.
All but nine of the ferry’s 82 passengers and crew have been rescued as of 19:30 on Friday. One female survivor suffered injuries from the incident and was later brought to hospital.
The SAR and firefighting operations were still ongoing as of 21:30 on Friday.
The ferry had earlier departed Calapan Port in nearby Oriental Mindoro province and was approaching the Port of Batangas when the incident occurred.
Operator Starlite Ferries issued an official statement via social media on Friday evening saying that all 73 passengers and crew on Asia Philippines are safe and accounted for. However, coast guard personnel at Calapan Port said that there were 82 people on board.
Asia Philippines was originally built in 1975. The ferry had sailed under two different Philippine operators before it was acquired by Starlite Ferries earlier this year.
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