HONG KONG: A passenger ship carrying more than 450 people has sunk in the Yangtze River in central China, triggering a rescue effort hampered by strong winds and heavy rain.
Maritime transport remains critical in Asia, but boats are plagued by poor maintenance, flaws in design and overcrowding. It was not immediately clear, however, what caused the Chinese crash.
The sinking is the latest in a long line of boat disasters to have hit the region:
• March 2015: A boat carrying more than 200 passengers and crew in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state capsizes, leaving at least 61 people dead.
• February 2015: A ferry accident in central Bangladesh leaves 69 people dead, just a fortnight after five others were killed when an overloaded ferry sank in the country.
• January 2015: Twenty-two people, including eight foreigners, are killed after a tugboat sinks on a trial voyage on the Yangtze.
• October 2014: At least 17 people from a wedding party die after their boat sank on its way to the Indonesian island of Bali. The previous month, another boat sank, leaving 14 others dead.
• April 2014: The Sewol ferry sinks off the coast of South Korea. Of 476 of the mainly school children on board, 304 die. The boat’s captain is later sentenced to 36 years in prison.
• August 2013: At least 71 are killed and 49 go missing when the St. Thomas Aquinas ferry sinks after it collides with a cargo ship near Cebu, Philippines.
• June 2012: A boat carrying around 200 asylum seekers going from Indonesia to Australia capsizes north of Christmas Island. Of the Afghan and Pakistani men and children on board, at least 73 are never found.
• April 2012: A total of 203 people are killed or go missing when a ferry sinks in India’s Brahmaputra river during a storm in the northeastern Assam state.
• January 2009: At least 235 people are killed when a ferry goes down during a storm off the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia.
• June 2008: The Princess of the Stars ferry sails into a typhoon and tips over near the coast of Sibuyan Island, Philippines. Of the 850 people on board, only 57 survive.
• October 2001: An Indonesian fishing boat known as the SIEV-X sinks en route to Australia, carrying 421 passengers, mostly Iraqi and Afghan refugees. Of those, 353 die, 146 of them children, in the most deadly incident involving refugees in Australia’s history.
• December 1987: The Philippines ferry Dona Paz sinks after colliding with the oil tanker Vector: 4,386 die in what is the world’s worst maritime disaster outside of wartime.
• May 1986: Around 600 people are killed when a storm overturns a boat named Samia in Bangladesh’s Meghna River, the worst ferry disaster in the country’s history.
• September 1954: The Japanese ferry Toya Maru sinks in the Sea of Japan between the northern islands of Hokkaido and Honshu when caught in a major typhoon. At least 1,150 die.
• March 1921: Around 1,000 are killed when the Singapore ocean liner Hong Moh is wrecked on Lamock Island in the South China Sea.
• September 1912: A Japanese steamship, the Kiche Maru, sinks off the eastern island of Honshu during a typhoon. More than 1,000 die.