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Marine Log

June 22, 2008

Death toll in ferry tragedy could top 800

The number of those missing following the capsizing of the Philippines ferry Princess of the Stars could be above 800 as the vessel's owner, Sulpicio Lines, discovered 100 more people on the passenger manifesto than originally reported.

Local media report Attorney Manuel Espina, a spokesman for Sulpicio Lines, as saying that 724 passengers and 121 crew members were aboard the ship when it sank.

The Philippine Coast Guard had reported only 626 passengers aboard the vessel.

The vessel left Manila on Friday en route to Cebu, and according, Sulpicio Lines, contact was lost at about 1230 (0430 GMT) on Saturday.

Initially, only four survivors were found found in San Fernando town on Sibuyuan island, but subsequently another 28 were recovered in Mulanay town in Quezon province, 150 km south-east of Manila.

The loss of life could be the Philippines' worst since December 1987 when some 4,341 people died when Dona Paz, an inter-island passenger ferry owned by Sulpicio Lines collided with an oil tanker off Mindoro Island. In 1988, around 250 people died when Dona Marilyn, another passenger ferry owned by Sulpicio Lines, sank.e could be the worst

The 23, 824 gt, 192.92 m Princess of the Stars was built by the Aichi Works of Japan's IHI and delivered in 1984.

Until 2004, when it was transferred to the Philippines flag, the vessel served as the Ferry Lilac with Japan's Shin-Nihonkai Ferry.

The ship is classed with BV as a RO/RO passenger ship with the the navigation notation "Coastal area--trade limited to Philippines national waters."

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