Philippines's ship collision toll reaches 38

Manila, Aug 19 (IANS) As more bodies were retrieved Sunday, the death toll in the Saturday's collision between a passenger ship and a cargo vessel in the Philippines rose to 38, the military said.

"Rescue operation which suspended Saturday due to strong winds and high waves, resumed Sunday morning. However, the oil spill has hampered rescue because it affects visibility, skin of the divers... The death toll is now 38," reported Xinhua citing Winiel Azcuna, chief of the Philippine Coast Guard Station in Cebu province.

Full-scale underwater search for the missing trapped in the sunken passenger ship MV St. Thomas Aquinas is to start Monday, said Roy Deveraturda, commander of the military's central command.

Deveraturda said a total of 870 passengers and crew were on board the ill-fated passenger ship when it collided with MV Sulpicio Express 7 and subsequently sank near Lauis Ledge in the province's Talisay City. Of the number, 751 were listed as survivors and 82 were still missing.

The passenger vessel collided with the cargo vessel when it was about to enter the sea port in Talisay City Friday evening.