The ship carrying iron ore, the Panamanian-registered M/V Sun Spirit, began to list Saturday off Catanduanes province and sent a distress signal.
Though coast guard officials immediately deployed three ships and a helicopter for a search and rescue, it was a Philippine cargo ship and a fishing boat that saved the crew of 12 Indonesians and two Koreans, who had abandoned the ship, coast guard Adm. Ramon Liwag said.
It was not immediately clear why the ship sank. It was bound for China after leaving the central Philippine province of Leyte, officials said.
Separately, a Philippine cargo ship with 18 Filipino crewmen sank early Sunday off central Antique province when its hull hit a hard object and took in water. The crewmen were rescued by fishing boats, coast guard spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Algier Ricafrente said.
The M/V Seaford 2 was destined for Antique with about 35,000 sacks of cement. Coast guard and Antique officials were monitoring any possible oil spill from the sunken vessel, which left southern Iligan city with 9,000 litres of oil for fuel, Lt. Cmdr. Ricafrente said..