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Ferry with 173 on board overturns in Philippines

02 July 2015, 11:42

Manila - A ferry with 173 people on board overturned in rough waters in the central Philippines on Thursday as rescuers rushed to the scene, the coast guard said.

The Kim Nirvana was heading from the central city of Ormoc to the island of Camotes when it capsized, the coast guard office in Manila said.

Search and rescue operations were ongoing and it was unclear if there were any fatalities or anyone rescued so far, the coast guard office said.

Poorly-maintained, loosely-regulated ferries are the backbone of maritime travel in the sprawling archipelago.

But this has led to frequent accidents that have claimed hundreds of lives in recent years, including the world's worst peacetime maritime disaster in 1987 when the Dona Paz ferry collided with an oil tanker, leaving more than 4,300 dead.

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