The Philippines Coast Guard will today resume the search for survivors and victims of a ferry which sank after colliding with a cargo vessel off the central Philippines coast.

Thirty-two people have been confirmed dead while 172 are missing.

Divers will be sent to retrieve bodies from the ferry 33 metres below the surface.

An underwater search was suspended on Saturday due to bad weather and poor visibility.

The transportation minister Joseph Abaya says 661 of the more than 800 passengers of the ferry have been accounted for along with all 38 crew from the cargo vessel.

He says a New Zealander is among foreigners from the ferry and is in hospital.

The captains of both vessels have been taken into custody by maritime authorities for questioning.

Oil spill booms will be laid out to stop a leak from the ferry which reportedly contains 20 tonnes of diesel oil.