Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Another ferry wreck in Indonesia




Another ferry wreck in Indonesia

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Passengers await help after a ferry sank off the coast of Selayar island in Indonesia on Tuesday. BADAN NASIONAL PENANGGULANGAN BENCANA/afp

Another ferry wreck in Indonesia

Nearly three dozen people have died after a ferry ran aground off the coast of Indonesia, according to an updated official toll Wednesday, the latest deadly maritime accident in the Southeast Asian archipelago.

The KM Lestari was believed to be carrying nearly 190 people when damage to its hull forced the captain to ground the vessel on Tuesday afternoon about 300 metres off Selayar island, near the larger island of Sulawesi.

Images from the scene showed terrified passengers clinging to the side of the tipped over ferry, while others floated in the sea awaiting help.

Waves swamped the boat’s deck, sweeping trucks and other vehicles on the ferry overboard, as rescuers battled high winds and rough seas to pluck victims from the water.

Indonesia’s disaster agency said 34 people died in the accident while 155 passengers have been rescued, it added.

A fleet of smaller boats, including local fishing vessels, worked to save passengers as bad weather prevented larger craft from approaching the stricken ferry, the transportation ministry said.

It added that most passengers had been wearing life jackets.

“The captain and ship owner were the last two people to get off the ship,” Agus H Purnomo, a director at the ministry of transportation, said in a statement.

The 48-metre vessel was sailing from Sulawesi to nearby Selayar island when strong winds and high waves caused damage to its portside hull and it began taking on water.

The captain deliberately ran the boat aground close to shore in an effort to reduce casualties, the transportation ministry said. Authorities warned that the boat’s owner could face charges.

“If the boat was found to be not seaworthy we will take firm action against the operator,” Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi told reporters in Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi.

The ship was also carrying some $2 million worth of rupiah currency destined for a bank branch on Selayar to pay local civil servants a bonus.

The money was retrieved from the boat on Wednesday, still neatly packed in seven gunny sacks.

The deadly incident came on the same day authorities officially called off the search for more than 160 people missing after another ferry sank on a volcanic lake in Sumatra two weeks ago.

The vessel was believed to be operating illegally with no manifest and not enough life jackets when it disappeared into the depths of Lake Toba, a picturesque tourist spot.

While some bodies have been recovered, many are believed to be trapped inside the sunken vessel at the bottom of one of the world’s deepest lakes, which plunges 500 metres in spots.

Deadly maritime accidents are not uncommon in Indonesia, where many people depend on boats to get around the 17,000 island nation despite lax safety standards.

More than 300 people are estimated to have drowned in 2009 when a ferry sank between Sulawesi and Borneo islands.

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there