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AP / The Hindu /MANILA, PHILIPPINES, July 31, 2011.
The Philippine coast guard and fishermen rescued 168 people who were on board a passenger ship that tilted for three hours before sinking early Sunday in the central Philippines, officials said.
The steel-hulled M/V Asia Malaysia was heading from the central Cebu region to Iloilo province on an overnight trip when it began to tilt to its right, or starboard side, at dawn Sunday, coast guard chief Admiral Ramon Liwag said. The cause of the problem was not immediately clear.
The ship’s captain sent a distress call to the coast guard and ordered all passengers and his crewmen to abandon the 2,400-ton vessel, which tilted about six kilometres from its destination before sinking amid rain, coast guard spokesman Lt. Commander Algier Ricafrente said.
Coast guard vessels, fishermen and two passenger ships saved 168 passengers and crewmen from the ship, which had a capacity of 550 people, Mr. Ricafrente said. It was unclear how many people the M/V Asia Malaysia was carrying.
Coast guard helicopter was scouring the area for other possible survivors and to check whether there was an oil slick from the ship, he said.
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