The four deceased were identified as Danilo Gomez, described as between 50 to 55-years-old, an infant named Chloe Labisig and Ronald G. Heneral from Sirawai town, Zamboanga del Norte, who was brought by fishermen to Selinog Island together with another unidentified fatality, according to data provided by the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
Reports say the M/V Lite Ferry 16 was carrying 150 passengers and 37 crew members when it left Samboan, Cebu, but the exact figures are still to be determined.
At least 111 passengers and 30 crew members have been rescued, while 39 are still unaccounted for as of Wednesday noon.
In parallel, at least seven of the crew remained onboard, Dr. Rolito Cataluña, City Health Officer, was quoted as saying to PNA.
The rescued passengers were reportedly transferred to a hotel in nearby Dipolog City.
Maritime casualties are a regular phenomenon in the Philippines. Recently, on 3 August, three passenger motorboats capsized off the city Iloilo, Panay, killing 31 passengers.
In June, global trade association Interferry published key lessons from the FERRYSAFE project, initiated earlier in 2019 to study safety advances in the Philippines.
Timeline of the deadliest shipping disasters in the Philippines
- Dec 1987 - A total of 4,386 die in world’s worst peacetime shipping disaster, after Dona Paz and an oil tanker collide off Mindoro Island.
- Oct 1988 - Dona Marilyn, sister ship of Dona Paz, sinks off Leyte province, killing around 300.
- July 1993 - 279 pilgrims drown when an overloaded wooden temple, mounted on three boats, collapses during a religious festival as it is being towed along the Bocaue river, 20 km (12 miles) north of Manila.
- Dec 1994 - Ferry Cebu City collides with Singapore oil tanker, killing more than 140.
- Sept 1998 - Almost 200 die when the ferry 'Princess of the Orient', sister ship of Dona Paz and Dona Marilyn, sinks in stormy seas near Cavite and Batangas.
- April 2000 - At least 138 drown after the ML Annahada sinks off Jolo island in the southern part of the country.
- February 2004 - Superferry 14 catches fire near Manila Bay, killing 116 people. Abu Sayyaf claims responsibility, saying a suicide bomber sabotaged the boat to protest ill treatment of Muslim communities.
- June 2008- Princess of Stars sinks 3 km from Sibuyan island, killing about 800 people.
- Sept 2009- SuperFerry 9 sank off Zamboanga Peninsula killing 10 people.