At least 31 people have died, three of them minors, after a fire that occurred last night on a passenger ferry in Basilan, in the southern Philippines, local authorities confirmed to EFE on Thursday.

The MV Lady Mary III ship was carrying some 250 people, including passengers and crew, when a fire whose cause is still unknown surprised the crew on Wednesday night, while the ship was sailing near the coast of Baluk Baluk Island, in the Basilan province, on the southern island of Mindanao.

As reported to EFE by the coordinator of the Basilan Emergency Center, Asia Bergami, at least 23 people, three of them minors, perished in the fire, while 126 passengers were rescued and taken to the island of Basilan.

The ship covered the route from the city of Zamboanga to Zulu, and it is unknown at the moment if it could have been stranded on the Basilan coast, while it is investigated if the ferry has spilled oil into the sea as a result of the fire, as confirmed by the coast guard in a statement via social media.

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