The fire took nearly five hours to contain after it began.
A Philippine ferry carrying 157 people caught fire earlier this week just before reaching a port 60 kilometers east of capital Manila. The coast guard shared several pictures of people in life vests floating in the sea waiting to be rescued. In the background there is thick smoke bellowing out of the two-story passenger vessel.
INCIDENT REPORT: The @coastguardph responded to a maritime incident involving MV MERCRAFT 2, a fast craft vessel that reported fire onboard in the vicinity waters off Real, Quezon today, 23 May 2022. pic.twitter.com/FItWkxtNdR— Philippine Coast Guard (@coastguardph) May 23, 2022
While the cause of the fire is still unknown, 5 women and 2 men had died, while 120 passengers had been rescued, with 23 of them treated for injuries, the coast guard said in a statement.
The vessel had departed from Polillo Island, which is to the northeast of the island archipelago nation and was supposed to anchor at the town of Real. The ship caught fire around 5 am local time and a distress call was made to the authorities at 6:30 am local time. The fire took nearly five hours to contain after it began. The incident is being investigated, the Philippine Coast Guard confirmed in a statement.
PCG PRESS STATEMENT— Philippine Coast Guard (@coastguardph) May 25, 2022
25 May 2022 This is to clarify the total number of affected individuals during the fire onboard incident involving MV MERCRAFT 2 in the vicinity waters off Real, Quezon, on 23 May 2022. pic.twitter.com/2zdo3IBTrv
Initially there were some contrasting reports of the number of people on board the vessel. The Coast guard however in a statement on Twitter issued a clarification saying “This is to clarify the total number of affected individuals during the fire onboard incident involving MV MERCRAFT 2 in the vicinity waters off Real, Quezon, on 23 May 2022.”
“According to the @coastguardph Station Northern Quezon, the data gathered during the investigation yesterday, 24 May 2022, revealed that there were 157 INDIVIDUALS ONBOARD THE DISTRESSED VESSEL instead of 134 individuals as earlier reported.”