The death toll in the Ormoc ferry tragedy has increased to 61, the coastguard said in a report.
“The number of bodies is more than we expected,” Pedro Tinampay, regional coast guard chief, Business World report.
The increase in the number of dead bodies recovered suggests overloading. There were 145 survivors and with at least 61 dead bodies recovered, totaling to 206 people aboard. This is way above the 194 capacity of the boat, which includes its crew. The manifest of the boat states that there were only 173 passengers and 16 crew members.
Apart from passengers, the boat was also transporting sacks of cement, rice and fertilizer. A GMA News report estimated it could weigh as much as 7,500 kilos.
United Filipino Seafarers blamed the Maritime Industry Authority over the tragedy.
“Thousands of innocent lives have been lost to the sea but still we have never learned a lesson. The real culprits remain on their comfortable seats and being scot-free,” Nelson Ramirez of the seafarers group said in a separate GMA News report.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration has earlier said that Typhoon Egay did not contribute to the ferry accident as it was 500 kilometers east of Virac, Catanduanes at the time of the tragedy.
“We don’t see any effect from Egay in the incident,” Fernando Cana, Pag-asa weather forecaster, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Cana added that no strong winds were recorded and that there was no gale warning placed at the time.
Owners of the ferry and its captain, along with its crew members, are facing multiple murder charges, a CNN report read.