Maritime and Port Authority investigating Singapore-bound ferry incident

Passengers climbing on board life rafts after the ferry hit a floating object.
Passengers climbing on board life rafts after the ferry hit a floating object.PHOTO: EDMUND SEAH

SINGAPORE- The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is investigating the incident which affected 97 passengers who were on their way back to Singapore from Batam, Indonesia on the Sea Prince ferry.

The MPA said in a press release on Wednesday (Dec 2) that it is looking into the incident with the ferry operator Batamfast and other relevant Indonesian authorities.

It added that it has interviewed some of the affected passengers and the ferry crew members.

Close to 100 passengers who were on their way back from Nongsapura Ferry Terminal at Batam, were affected last Sunday when the ferry they were on hit a floating object about 10 minutes into the journey.

Out of the 97 passengers on board, 51 were Singaporeans.

Passengers said that after they were asked to evacuate the ferry, and boarded the life rafts, water started entering the vessels and sank shortly after.

It took 20 minutes to slightly more than an hour before they were rescued by local villagers on bumboats, and made their way back to Nongsapura Ferry Terminal at Batam.

They arrived at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal at around 12.20am on Monday.

The incident left many passengers of the Indonesia- registered ferry upset citing reasons such as the lack of timely and clear information.

In its press release, the MPA said that ensuring maritime safety is one of its key priorities

It added: "It takes a serious view of the incident and has reminded all ferry operators in Singapore of the importance of navigational safety and emergency preparedness."

Members of public who wish to provide information on the incident can contact MPA at 6375-6217.