Murder charges filed against Philippines ferry officials as capsize toll rises to 54 people

Baku, July 4, AZERTAC

Philippines police have filed murder charges against the owners and crew of a passenger ferry that capsized and left dozens dead, an official said.

The charges were filed late on Friday in the central city of Ormoc over the sinking of the Kim Nirvana vessel, according to regional police chief superintendent Asher Dolina.

The death toll after the passenger ferry capsized in the central Philippines has risen to 54, amid confusion about exact passenger numbers.

The Philippines coast guard said there may have been more people aboard the vessel than were listed in its passenger manifest.

Officially, the boat held 173 passengers and 16 crew.

Authorities had believed 187 were on board, as two crew members had not turned up for work.

But with at least 54 confirmed dead and 142 survivors, officials acknowledged it was carrying extra people and could not rule out finding more bodies.

The coast guard planned to widen its search and rescue operations today to islands and coastal villages near the central port of Ormoc where the MV Kim Nirvana overturned.

The 33-tonne boat capsized while on a regular trip to neighbouring Camotes island.

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