The Philippines, which is an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, is known for several water activities but also holds a record for poor maritime safety. On Monday at 6.30am local time, a high-speed Philippine ferry was up in flames. The ferry carrying around 134 passengers and crew.
Reported 7 deaths from which five were women and two were men, authorities said. The remaining people onboard were forced to jump into the sea and were rescued by other vessels in the area, coast guards’ officials explained.
The ferry left the coast of Polillo Island at 5am and a distress call was made at 6.30am. The engine room of the M/V Mercraft 2 caught fire first, just before the vessel reached the port town of Real in Quezon province, about 37 miles (60km) east of the capital Manila. Photos shared by the coast guard showed, thick black smoke billowed from the Mercraft as flames tore through the entire vessel.
Among the 134 passengers, 24 people were injured and were taken to hospital, including the skipper, officials said. Many of them were in a state of shock and some suffered burns and bruises.
Officials said that the cause of the fire is yet to be investigated and until then the other Mercraft 2 ferries are likely to be suspended, until safety checks are carried out.
The fire on the Mercraft was under control and the burned-out wreckage towed to shore. Vessels in Philippines are often overcrowded, badly maintained and there is weak enforcement of safety regulations which result in search tragic accidents. .