Some 156 passengers and crew were rescued after a Malaysian-flagged ferry Zuhairi collided with a lightless barge and partially sank near Semporna port, Malaysia, in the evening hours of January 6, according to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.
As the ferry was slowly sinking, the authorities managed to rescue the passengers within an hour following the collision.
Some 21 people were hospitalized after sustaining minor injuries.
The exact number of passengers travelling aboard the ferry is unknown, however, the officials said that the ferry was presumably sailing with 160 passengers, of Malaysian and Filipino origin.
At the time of the incident, Zuhairi was on its way from Bongao island in southern Philippines to Semporna.
The Sabah Marine Department has formed a team to investigate the cause of the collision. The team will conduct interviews to establish the cause of the accident.
According to the officials, the barge that took part in the collision could not be located at present.