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Page last updated at 22:08 GMT, Sunday, 6 September 2009 23:08 UK

Dozens missing from sunken ferry

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Survivor tells of ferry disaster

Philippine authorities are continuing to search for about 30 people still missing after a ferry sank in the middle of the night.

Nine people died when the SuperFerry 9 listed then sank, but more than 900 were rescued from life rafts near the southern city of Zamboanga.

Officials are hopeful some passengers may still be drifting in life rafts.

The Philippine defence minister said the rescue had been helped by the presence of other vessels nearby.

A spokesman for the ferry owner, Aboitiz Transport System, said the priority was to find survivors.

"The focus of the company now, in co-ordination with the authorities, is the rescue and the proper counting of the survivors," said Erden Ferrer.

"That is actually the primary objective we have at the moment."

He said the company was finding out what happened to the crew.

"The captain is alive. The captain is on board the Navy Ship 116, at the moment; that we have confirmed.

PHILIPPINES' WORST FERRY DISASTERS
1987: More than 4,300 people die when the Dona Paz ferry collides with an oil tanker off Mindoro island - the world's worst peacetime shipping disaster
2008: More than 800 people killed when the Princess of the Stars ferry capsizes during a typhoon
1988: Dona Paz's sister ship, Dona Marilyn, sinks off Leyte province, killing 250-300 people
1998: The Princess of the Orient ferry sinks near Batangas province, killing 150-200 people
1994: About 140 people die when a freighter hits the Cebu City ferry in Manila Bay
2004: A fire aboard the Superferry 14 kills 116 people near Manila Bay. Abu Sayyaf claims it planted a bomb on board

"And also, about the 113 crew, we're still verifying the number and the whereabouts of the crew."

The company earlier said that the crew were the last to leave the ship at 0842 local time, when the ferry finally sank.

It also said that local rescue units and the Philippine National Red Cross were searching the coastal towns near the area for survivors.

The SuperFerry 9 began listing about 0203 local time on Sunday (1830 GMT Saturday) during its journey from General Santos to Iloilo, and all on board were ordered onto life rafts when it became apparent that the problem could not be fixed.

The coastguard, the navy, the air force and private boats in the area rushed to help.

The death toll could rise if reports of more fishing boats bringing in dead bodies proved accurate, officials said.

The Philippine air force and army have sent helicopters to help in the search for those still missing.

The cause of the sinking was unknown, but the weather was reported to be fair at the time of the incident.

The ferry ran into trouble about 530 miles (860km) south of the Philippine capital, Manila.


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SEE ALSO
Hundreds saved from doomed ferry
06 Sep 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Hundreds missing in ferry tragedy
23 Jun 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Philippines country profile
19 Oct 11 |  Country profiles

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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
MSNBC Philippine ferry survivor found at sea - 28 hrs ago
Guardian Unlimited Woman saved 30 hours after Philippines ferry disaster - 30 hrs ago
IAfrica.com Cargo ship crew rescued - 38 hrs ago
Miami Herald 9 dead, 926 rescued from capsized Philippine ferry - 40 hrs ago



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