The year has ended with another ferry being shipwrecked in the Philippines. At least 25 people are believed to have drowned when the MV Baleno-9 drive-on vessel went down in rough seas near Batangas city off the south coast of the country's main island of Luzon.
It was listed as having 88 people on board, of whom 72 have been rescued , but it is common practice in the islands not to record the names of all passengers in the ship’s manifest. The shipwreck came just three days after another ferry, the Catalyn B sank following a collision with a fishing boat. At least 27 are believed to have perished.
The Philippines was the scene of the world’s worst peacetime maritime disaster when the ferry Dona Paz went down after colliding with a tanker just before Christmas 1987 (see my blog of Aug 7).
In June 2008, the Princess of the Stars sank on its way from Manila to Cebu City when it encountered heavy seas off Sibuyan island. Once again there was uncertainty about the number of people aboard, but the death toll is put at up to 800. (See also my blogs of Sept 6 and 26)