LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) _ A ferry believed carrying as many as 300 people sank off Nigeria and hundreds were reported missing today, news reports said.

Local journalists said about 25 survivors had been brought to the coastal city of Port Harcourt by Friday afternoon. Local officials were continuing to send out rescue boats.

The boat went down sank late Thursday night about 70 miles off shore, the News Agency of Nigeria reported, quoting unidentified dock officials in Port Harcourt.

Two speedboats raced to the scene after word came in of the sinking, the report said.

While the ferry has a capacity of 150 passengers, it was believed to be overcrowded and as many as 300 people could have been on board when it sank, witnesses said.

The ferry, the MV George, was heading for the town of Nembe, about 50 miles to the southwest. Most of the passengers were believed to be traders.

Both Port Harcourt and Nembe are in the swampy Niger delta region of southeastern Nigeria.

River ferries, old and often in complete disrepair, ply the waters off Nigeria. Many are dangerously overcrowded.