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

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Howard Johnson opens in Sihanoukville

    New York Stock Exchange- (NYSE) listed hotel franchiser Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Inc (WH) has opened its first hotel in the Kingdom – the Howard Johnson Plaza by Wyndham Blue Bay Sihanoukville, WH said in a February 18 press release. WH said the new 36-storey property in Sihanoukville’