During a storm off the coast of Myanmar, a large wave crashed into a ferry boat, capsizing it. The sinking of the Myanmar ferry has so far left over 30 people dead, with a dozen still missing. As rescue workers continue to search for the passengers, it is reported that at least 216 people were on board. Of that, authorities have released information that 167 people have been rescued. Officials have state that search efforts will continue until the passengers are recovered.
The ferry, Aung Ta Gon-3, was a state owned ferry that was believed to be carrying hundreds of passengers when it left the docks on Friday at around 8:30 p.m. As weather sources had called for a storm, the ferry was sailing in bad conditions. During its route, about 50 miles north of Kyaukphyu, a large wave crashed into the ferry, causing it to turn over. Myanmar’s Red Cross division, and other local officials and ministries are working together to rescue as many people as possible.
According to sources, rescuers reported that a total of 31 women and 3 men were found dead, so far. With only 167 people rescued at this time, that leaves around one dozen people still considered missing, if the count on the ship was accurate. Overcrowding of people is often a big problem, meaning that many of those aboard may not have had official tickets. A local of Myanmar told reporters that the rescuers will probably never know exactly how many people were on the ship. Overcrowding of ferries in Myanmar is common.
Myanmar ferries also often travel in bad weather conditions. These conditions mean that ferry accidents in Myanmar are not uncommon. Unfortunately the area has seen many accidents, even recently. In fact, just last month a ferry sank, killing at least 68 people. This ferry sank because of a cargo vessel colliding with it. In August 45 people were killed in a ferry accident. In 2013, 150 people were killed when a ferry capsized near Myanmar.
Due to the vast amount of ferry accidents, it would seem that the government would do something to better regulate water travel in the area. According to sources, people in Myanmar take the ferries because of the low cost in water transportation and the inaccessibility of many of the areas by other means of transportation. The demand means that ferries in Myanmar are often old, under-cared for, and too heavy.
Though it seems easier for residents of Myanmar to take a ferry, the cost seems to be deadly, often. Sources state that the safety standards on ferries near Asia are often not enforced. Police officers involved in the rescue mission told reporters that they assume the ferry capsized because of the overloading of cargo. Many accidents have been believed to have the same cause. Myanmar ferries and ferries in the area, often overload their boats with too much cargo, yet another issue in ferry transportation.
Rescuers continue to search for the dozen missing after traveling on the Aung Ta Gon-3 ferry from Myanmar. Over 30 people are dead but rescuers fear that count will rise before the end of the search. At least 167 people were rescued alive. Often times, that is not the case for ferries that sink near Myanmar.
By Crystal Boulware