As the Philippine Coastguard continue the search for more than 80 people missing in the Cebu accident, bad weather is hampering efforts and making it harder to contain oil leaking from the sunken ferry.
More than 30 people lost their lives in Friday’s collision, with the death toll rising every day since. It now stands at 38.
The M-V St. Thomas Aquinas ferry was carrying around 830 passengers and crew.
Relatives wait for news of their loved ones, like one man who said: “I pray that they are still alive, so I can meet them. I don’t know what to do if they’re dead, but in case they are, I hope I can at least find their bodies.”
Forty-eight hours after an accident, search and rescue work is downgraded to recovery and retrieval, according to the coastguard. This is followed by an investigation.
Referring to speculation on what may have happened, Central Visayas District Commander of the Coastguard Commodore William Melad said: “There is only a narrow passage of 600 yards for each vessel to meet. Definitely there are rules. Whether who violated this or was there was a violation, that has to be validated by an investigation.”
The ferry, on its way to Cebu City, was hit by the Sulpicio Express 7 cargo ship and sank within minutes.
Survivors say hundreds jumped overboard and local fishermen helped rescue some of them.