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Philippine cargo ship sinks, killing 1

world Updated: Dec 17, 2008 13:53 IST

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A cargo ship loaded with cement sank in the central Philippines, killing one crew member, as rescuers recovered the bodies of 14 people who died when a ferry capsized earlier this week, the coast guard said Wednesday. Maria Lourdes, a 639-ton cargo ship loaded with bags of cement, sent a distress call after its engine failed Tuesday afternoon, and sank hours later off Caluya island in Antique province, coast guard regional chief, Cmdr. Harold Harder said.

Rough waves were reported at the time of the sinking, he said. He said the ship's chief engineer drowned and 19 others were rescued and brought to Caluya.

Coast guard and navy ships, meanwhile, found 14 more bodies about six miles (10 kilometers) from where an inter-island ferry capsized after being battered by huge waves Sunday off northeastern Cagayan province, drowning 44 people, police said.

A search was continuing for nine more missing passengers from the ferry Maejan. Forty-five people survived by swimming or clinging to driftwood and other objects until they reached the shore in Cagayan's Aparri township, police Senior Inspector Alex de los Santos said.

Coast guard chief Vice Adm. Wilfredo Tamayo said the ferry was authorized to carry only 50 people but twice as many packed on board for a trip to buy Christmas food and other holiday supplies. He said criminal charges will be filed against those who allowed the overloaded Maejan to sail. The owner and her daughter were among the dead, police said.

Sea accidents are common at this time of the year because of rough waters, badly maintained boats and weak enforcement of safety regulations.