At least six killed as fishing boat explodes off Philippine province Cebu

Coastguard reports six rescued after blast and blaze on boat, which had apparently developed engine trouble.

Rescuers from Philippine Coast Guard carrying a survivor of a vessel that caught fire
Rescuers from the Philippine coastguard carry a survivor of a vessel that caught fire in the waters off Naga city, Cebu [Philippine Coast Guard/Handout via AP]

At least six crew members of a fishing boat have been killed after an explosion and a fire on the vessel at sea off a central Philippine province.

Coastguard officials reported the deaths on Thursday, adding that six crew had been rescued from the F/B King Bryan after the blast and resulting blaze the previous day about 8km (5 miles) off Naga city in Cebu province.

Video and pictures issued by the coastguard show flames and smoke billowing from the fishing boat as rescuers scanned the waters in the darkness. Crew members with burn injuries were carried to safety by coastguard personnel.

The wooden-hulled boat, which had bamboo outriggers, apparently developed engine trouble, the ensuing disaster leaving some crew members injured, forcing others to jump into the sea in panic.

According to coastguard officials, a passing tugboat helped put out the blaze and a search and rescue operation was launched.


Surviving crew members, including the skipper, were still being treated at a hospital or were too traumatised to tell investigators what set off the explosion and resulting fire.

One of the injured crewmen was in critical condition at a hospital in Cebu.

Sea accidents are common in the Philippines because of frequent storms, poorly maintained boats, overcrowding and spotty enforcement of safety regulations.

Last year, the M/V Esperanza Star ferry caught fire with 120 people on board while travelling from Siquijor province to Bohol province in the central Philippines – all were rescued.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies