Another Indonesian ferry disaster, 34 confirmed dead
9 July 2018
A passenger ferry ran aground in shallow water last Tuesday afternoon in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Of the 189 passengers on board, 34 have been declared dead and 155 have been rescued or swam to safety. This is the third major ferry disaster in Indonesia in the past month.
The ferry was en route from Port Bira to Pamatata on Selayar Island when it encountered strong winds and rough seas two hours into its journey. High waves caused a hull breach on the ship’s portside, flooding the vessel and damaging the engine. The deck was deluged with water that swept away vehicles and passengers.
The captain in a desperate effort to prevent the ferry from sinking and save as many passengers as possible, deliberately steered the vessel into the shallows off Selayar Island. The boat ran aground approximately 300 metres from the shore.
Photos and videos on social media showed terrified passengers clinging to the ship and using ropes to descend into the rough waters. Others were wading and assisting people to get onto the rescue boat.
Local residents braved rough waters to assist trapped passengers, using fishing vessels to transport people to safety on Wednesday. Indonesia’s Transportation Ministry said that a fleet of smaller ships had to be used in the rescue operations as larger craft were prevented from approaching the ferry because of the shallow water and bad weather.
Agus H. Purnomo, the director-general of sea transportation reported that “the captain and the owner of the ship were the last two people to come down from the passenger ship.”
Among the casualties were infants as young as two and three. Some of the injured are being treated at the island’s local hospital.
Last Thursday, Sutopo…