Ferry capsizes in Indonesia's Bali Strait, rescue operation underway

Members of an Indonesian rescue team search for survivors from an capsized ferry, in the waters off Banyuangi on March 4, 2016.
Members of an Indonesian rescue team search for survivors from an capsized ferry, in the waters off Banyuangi on March 4, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

JAKARTA - A rescue operation was underway to rescue dozens of passengers after a ferry capsized in the Bali strait on Friday (March 4).

Media reports said the ship was travelling in the waters between the Indonesian islands of Bali and Java when it capsized.

The boat, Rafelia II, was leaving Gilimanuk port in Bali to Banyuwangi in the east of Java island.

An AP report citing TV footage said passengers had jumped into the water after the boat began sinking.

There were conflicting reports on the number of passengers on board the ship. But Didi Hamzar, head of Bali's Search and Rescue Agency, said the ship's manifest listed 51 people on board including 14 crewmen, AP reported.

It was also unclear how many had been rescued so far, with some media reports saying all on board had been rescued while others said the number ranged between 41 to 71 people. Boats in Indonesia are often overloaded.

Indonesia is heavily dependent on ferry services, but the industry has a poor safety record and fatal accidents are common.