14 missing after Philippines sea collision

MANILA (AFP) – Philippine rescuers were searching yesterday for 14 people missing after a local fishing boat collided with a cargo ship, authorities said.

The boats crashed early on Sunday in waters southwest of Manila, capsizing the Philippine fishing vessel Liberty 5 off the coast of Occidental Mindoro province.

The captain of the cargo ship Vienna Wood, which is registered in Hong Kong, called for help “a few hours later” and the vessel was being escorted to land by the Philippine Coast Guard, said agency spokesman Commodorer Mando Balilo. It was not immediately clear if the Liberty 5 had sunk.

Philippine authorities deployed aircraft and ships in the hunt for the missing people, who included 12 Filipino crew members and two passengers.

Strong ocean currents interrupted the search last Sunday evening, but operations resumed yesterday.

The Philippines has a poor shipping safety record, with scores dying in mishaps at sea each year, usually aboard wooden-hulled outriggers that move people from one small island to another.

There have also been incidents allegedly linked with maritime disputes.