The Philippine National Police and six survivors have filed murder charges against the owner and the crew of the ferry that capsized 200 meters off Ormoc City on July 2, killing at least 61 people, according to local media.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is also looking into the possibility that Kim-Nirvana B ferry was overloaded at the time of the accident, after it was determined that the number listed at the vessel’s manifest does not correspond to the combined number of 61 bodies recovered and 145 survivors.
The actual number of bodies and survivors brings the total number of passengers to 206, including the captain and 17 crew members, according to PCG.
The initial media reports stated that the vessel was carrying 173 passengers and crew of 14 at the time of the capsizing. The PCG says that the ferry had a capacity to carry 178 people.
The ferry owner, Jorge Bung Zarco, and the Captain Warren Oliviero, have been detained by the police. Oliveiro said that the boat capsized after it was hit by a big wave.
However, police regional director for Eastern Visayas Chief Supt. Asher Dolina said that Kim-Nirvana capsized while making an abrupt turn.
If found guilty, Zarco and the crew could get up to 40 years in prison.
World Maritime News Staff