A Philippine ship with nearly 1,000 persons aboard sank last night after a collision with an oil barge in the waters south of Manila.
Coast Guard officials in Manila said a total of 963 persons including crew members were aboard. They said at least 887 had been rescued so far, 14 were dead, and three injured. The remaining persons were missing.
The Coast Guard office said the passenger boat Don Juan sank about 140 miles southeast of Manila after a collision with a large tanker barge called the Tacloban City.
The collision occurred about 11:45 p.m. Tuesday in waters east of the southern Philippine island of Mindoro. It sank about six miles east of the small island of Maestre de Campo.
According to wire service reports from Manila, more than 500 of the passenger ship's survivors were picked up immediately by a sister ship of the barge, the Laoag City.
There were several other commercial vessels in the area and they sped to the rescue of many survivors, the Coast Guard said.
Other rescue ships were putting out from Manila to aid in the rescue.
The Don Juan had left Manila yesterday enroute to Bacolod City on Negros Island, 300 miles south of Manila.
The Associated Press added from Manila:
Daniel Lacson III, vice president of Negros Navigation, which owned the ferry, told the Philippines News Agency that one of its radio stations intercepted a radio message from the Don Juan after the collison. He said the radio operator shouted. "We're listing." The message continued; Abandon ship! Abandon ship! Abandon ship!
The agency said a Philippine Air Force plane was waiting at nearby Marinduque Island to bring injured survivors to Manila. It also said the Philippine Coast Guard had mobilized its vessels for search operations.