fears of oil spill

CAPSIZED: Princess of the Stars sank after being hit by heavy storms.
CAPSIZED: Princess of the Stars sank after being hit by heavy storms.

SAN FERNANDO - Fears of a massive oil spill have complicated efforts to recover bodies from inside a ferry that sank in the Philippines with more than 850 people on board, officials said yesterday.

SAN FERNANDO - Fears of a massive oil spill have complicated efforts to recover bodies from inside a ferry that sank in the Philippines with more than 850 people on board, officials said yesterday.

Although divers found no sign of life when they inspected the capsized Princess of the Stars off central Sibuyan Island, the country's vice-president, Noli de Castro, said he was "still hopeful". At a press conference on the island, De Castro said some people may have survived in an air pocket inside the ship.

"Who knows, we might see a miracle. We still believe in miracles," he said.

But he said one of the problems hampering the recovery operations was the fuel inside the ferry's tanks.

"If we siphon off the fuel the ferry could tilt and fall over, spilling oil, complicating rescue and recovery efforts further," he said.

De Castro appealed to the public for patience, saying the recovery operations "will not be as quick as we thought." "The important thing is we do things correctly. If we do it quickly, there might be a bigger disaster," he said. - Sapa-AFP

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