Philippines coast guard seeks 17 missing after marine accidents

A file photo of a Philippine Coast Guard ship sailing along Benham Rise, off the east coast of Luzon. On April 9, 2018, the coast guard was searching for the crew of a landing craft that went adrift south of Manila.
A file photo of a Philippine Coast Guard ship sailing along Benham Rise, off the east coast of Luzon. On April 9, 2018, the coast guard was searching for the crew of a landing craft that went adrift south of Manila. PHOTO: AFP

MANILA (REUTERS) - The Philippine coast guard was searching on Monday (April 9) for 17 crew of a landing craft that went adrift south of the capital, Manila, one of three weekend accidents at sea, an agency spokesman said.

Sea accidents are frequent in the Philippines, comprised of more than 7,000 islands, with lax regulations, ageing marine vessels and strong waves all contributing.

"Seventeen crew are missing and we are still looking for them," said the spokesman, Captain Armand Balilo, adding that the craft lost power near Fortune Island, a tourist spot in Batangas province.

Elsewhere, authorities on Sunday rescued all 14 boat passengers, mostly tourists, on the holiday island of Palawan and 19 people from a boat in the south-eastern province of Camarines Norte, after both crafts capsized in strong waves, the coast guard said.

In December, the Philippines' coast guard rescued 252 passengers and crew, including an Australian and his Philippine wife, and retrieved five bodies from a ferry capsize in bad weather.