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

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the