Passenger Benedict Fernandez told DZMM radio Friday night that smoke and flames suddenly rose from the second deck as crew members were apparently trying to turn an engine on and off as the ferry approached the port.
The ship caught fire just before reaching the port of Real in Quezon province, about 60km (37.28 miles) east of the capital Manila. It had left Polilio Island at 5am local time (2100 GMT Sunday) and made a distress call at 6:30am.
Rescuers have deployed a helicopter and extended the search area to 20 nautical miles from where the boat sank in the search for the missing, Djunaidi said.
The government of Kiribati was accused on Friday of attempting to bury a damning report into the Pacific island nation’s worst ferry disaster, which claimed 81 lives last year.
The latest maritime tragedy to hit the impoverished low-lying nation happened in the early hours in a river near Jhalokathi, 250 kilometres (160 miles) south of Dhaka.
The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed its sincere condolences and sympathy to the Bangladesh government and to the families of the victims of this tragic accident, wishing the injured a speedy recovery.
Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority has launched on Saturday a ferry service to commute passengers between Al Ghubaiba Marine Station in Dubai and Aquarium Marine Station in Sharjah.
Search and rescue efforts were continuing after the fire on the M/V Lite Ferry 16 off Dapitan city in Zamboanga del Norte province, coast guard spokesman Armand Balilo said.
RTA’s Public transportation modes have lifted 4,003,195 riders during the recent Eid al-Adha holiday.