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Fishing boats anchored in the Philippines. Seven people were missing on Sunday after a collision between a fishing vessel and a cargo ship. File photo: Bloomberg

Philippines: 7 missing after boat collision

  • Rescuers searching waters after a fishing vessel and cargo ship collided, with the fishing boat capsizing and sinking
  • Thirteen of its 20 crew members were picked up by another boat; the accident happened days after seven died when a ferry caught fire

Rescuers searched waters off the Philippines on Sunday for seven people missing after a collision between a fishing boat and a cargo ship, authorities said.

The Philippines fishing vessel and Marshall Islands-flagged MV Happy Hiro collided Saturday east of Palawan Island, the Philippine Coast Guard said.

The fishing boat capsized and sank in the Sulu Sea, coastguard spokesman Commodore Armando Balilo said.

Thirteen of its 20 crew members were plucked from the water by another fishing boat before being transferred to the Happy Hiro. They suffered minor injuries.

The coastguard deployed rescue teams from nearby stations to scour the waters for the seven missing crew members.

The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, has a poor maritime safety record.

Mishaps and overcrowding are common on vessels that are often wooden-hulled outriggers used for fishing or transporting people.

On May 23, seven people were killed and 127 were rescued after a fire ripped through a ferry and forced passengers to jump overboard.

The 186-person capacity fast craft boat was about a kilometre from Real, in Quezon province on the main island of Luzon, when the blaze started.