Three killed, 300 evacuated after Indonesian ferry fire

Rescued passengers of the KM Santika Nusantara (above), the ferry that caught fire last Thursday off the coast of Java, waiting at Tanjung Perak seaport in Surabaya and getting their particulars recorded after being evacuated last Friday, the same da
Rescued passengers of the KM Santika Nusantara (above), the ferry that caught fire last Thursday off the coast of Java, waiting at Tanjung Perak seaport in Surabaya and getting their particulars recorded after being evacuated last Friday, the same day a fishing boat carrying other survivors of the burnt vessel prepared to dock in Sumenep.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Rescued passengers of the KM Santika Nusantara (above), the ferry that caught fire last Thursday off the coast of Java, waiting at Tanjung Perak seaport in Surabaya and getting their particulars recorded after being evacuated last Friday, the same da
Rescued passengers of the KM Santika Nusantara, the ferry that caught fire last Thursday off the coast of Java, waiting at Tanjung Perak seaport in Surabaya and getting their particulars recorded after being evacuated last Friday, the same day a fishing boat (above) carrying other survivors of the burnt vessel prepared to dock in Sumenep.PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

JAKARTA • Indonesian rescuers found three people dead and evacuated 300 from the blazing wreckage of a ferry off the coast of Java island, an official said yesterday.

The figures are significantly more than what was originally said to have been on board the vessel.

The KM Santika Nusantara was travelling between Indonesia's second-largest city of Surabaya and the town of Balikpapan on Borneo island when it caught fire last Thursday evening, government official Syahrul Nugroho told TV channel TV One.

It was initially reported that there were 277 people on board.

A statement from the Basarnas rescue agency said yesterday that it had been confirmed there were 303 people on board, three of whom were killed.

"The search will continue today," Basarnas official Budi Prasetyo told Reuters earlier. Basarnas deployed ships from nearby ports and an aircraft for air monitoring.

Mr Prasetyo acknowledged the discrepancy in the number of people said to have been on board and said many passengers did not list their names on the ferry's manifest.

Officials have given no details about the possible cause of the fire.

Rescue efforts were complicated by the boat's manifest listing only 111 passengers, officials said.

Mismatches in passenger data have been a longstanding problem in the transportation industry of Indonesia.

Ferries are an important means of transport in Indonesia, which is made up of some 17,000 islands.

Sea connections are cheaper and more extensive than air links. However, safety standards are not always strictly enforced and accidents occur fairly often.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 25, 2019, with the headline 'Three killed, 300 evacuated after Indonesian ferry fire'. Print Edition | Subscribe