Philippine ferry owner and crew charged with murder

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.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is investigating to find out if Kim-Nirvana B ferry was overloaded at the time of the accident, after it was determined that the number listed in the vessel’s manifest did not correspond with the combined number of 61 bodies recovered and 145 survivors.

The number of bodies and survivors brings the total number of passengers to 206, including the captain and 17 crew members, according to PCG.

Initial media reports stated that the vessel was carrying 173 passengers and a crew of 14 at the time it capsized. 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. According to Oliveiro’s version of the incident, the boat capsized after it was hit by a big wave.But, Police Regional Director for Eastern Visayas Chief Supt. Asher Dolina, said that Kim-Nirvana capsized while making a sudden turn.

If found guilty, Zarco and the crew could get up to 40 years in gaol.

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