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Philippine ferry with 120 people on board catches fire | News

Rescue efforts are underway after the M/V Esperanza Star caught fire en route from Siquijor to Bohol.

A coast guard vessel has been deployed to rescue those on board and extinguish the flames after a ferry carrying 120 passengers and crew caught fire off the coast of the Philippines, officials said.

The M/V Esperanza Star caught fire at dawn on Sunday while en route from Siquijor province to Bohol province in central Philippines, the Coast Guard said.

It did not immediately say how many people had been rescued from the ferry, or whether there were casualties.

Photos and video released by the Coast Guard showed flames and black smoke billowing from two decks at one end of the ferry as Coast Guard personnel on another ship used water cannons to try to extinguish the fire.

A fishing boat and another boat can be seen nearby.

None of the 65 passengers and 55 crew members were on board the burning ferry, according to photos and video released by the Coast Guard.

Maritime accidents are common in the Philippine archipelago, especially in remote provinces, due to frequent storms, poorly maintained boats, overcrowding and poor enforcement of safety regulations.

In March, a ferry carrying about 250 people caught fire overnight near the southern island province of Basilan. At least 31 passengers and crew were killed, the Coast Guard said.

In December 1987, the Dona Paz ferry collided with an oil tanker and sank, killing more than 4,300 people in the world’s worst peacetime maritime disaster.

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