“In total, we have found … 21 dead, including children, teenagers and adults,” Reategui told Peruvian news network Radio Programas del Peru.
The vessels collided early Sunday morning near Zamora port, when an oil cargo boat hit a small barge ferrying passengers to the town of Yurimaguas from the village of Santa Maria, in the northern Amazonian region of Loreto.
According to media reports, about 80 people, including 20 children, were returning by boat from a religious event.
Authorities said the barge did not have a passenger list, so they could not determine the exact number of victims still missing.
On Monday, Peruvian Defense Minister Walter Ayala said the drivers of the two vessels had been detained so the Public Prosecutor’s Office could take their statements and determine if there were any violations.