Authorities on Saturday dived into the part of the sea off Claveria, Masbate, where the M/V Our Lady of Mt. Carmel sank, as the number of persons left missing by the incident rose to seven.

Navy divers started plunging into the sea around 7 a.m. “to check if there are trapped passengers,” Ensign Ere Mon John Duruin, Naval Forces Southern Luzon assistant public affairs officer, said in a text message.

Duruin made the remark as the Office of Civil Defense-5 reported that seven persons on board the M/V Our Lady of Mt. Carmel are still missing.

The OCD-5 identified six of the seven as Abegail Barredo, 19; Noan Manocan, 25; Leticia Andaya, 78; Fe Rapsing, Jonas Comidor, and Arian Comidor.

The seventh was later identified as a certain Jocelyn Danao, Duruin said.

Three of the seven are listed on the ship’s manifest while the four others are “claimed” to be missing, the OCD-5 said in a report issued Saturday noon.

Speculation that some passengers remain trapped arose after it was discovered that some persons on the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel were not on the ship’s manifest.

On Friday, authorities reported that the ship’s manifest only lists 35 passengers, 22 crew members, two buses, and a six-wheeled cargo truck.

As of Saturday, a total of 61 persons comprised of 38 passengers and 23 crew members have been rescued, while the number of deaths remain at two, the OCD-5 said.

Three of the survivors, identified as Jewel Ballesteros, 5; Kyle Benguet, 7; and Gilbert Bungon, 25, are still being treated at the Masbate Provincial Hospital and Masbate MMG Hospital, according to the agency.

Meanwhile, the OCD-5 said members of the Coast Guard have been deployed from Aroroy to check if the M/V Our Lady of Mt. Carmel’s sinking caused an oil spill. (John Roson)

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