Two ships carrying 700 people collide in Philippines

Manila, Aug 16 (IANS) Two ships, with about 700 passengers and crew members on board, collided Friday night in central Philippines. There was no immediate report of casualties, reported Xinhua citing local media.

Most of the passengers were asleep when the accident happened in Cebu province, said a rescued passenger.

Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) were conducting rescue operations as hundreds of passengers from the passenger vessel jumped into water following the collision. Several fishing vessels were also helping in the rescue.

There were reportedly some 692 passengers on board the passenger ship, while there were about 18 men on board the cargo ship, a media report said citing the PCG.

Initial investigation showed that a passenger ship -- M/V St. Thomas Aquinas -- heading toward Cebu province from Butuan province, allegedly collided with the cargo ship -- M/V Sulpicio Express 7 -- travelling from Cebu to Davao city.