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Pattaya Daily News

31 December 2006 :: 16:12:23 pm 31107

100 survivors have been recovered after a ferry capsized off Indonesia‘s Java Island.

The Senopati Nusantara, the ship was travelling from Kalimantan on Borneo to Semarang in Central Java, which sank around midnight on Friday, carried 628 people including 57 crew according to the manifest, Riyadi, Search and Rescue (SAR) operational chief in Semarang, Central Java The passenger ship sank at about 00:00 Jakarta time, and the poor weather with giant waves was blamed for the cause of the sinking, according to Indonesian Armed Forces spokesman Rear Admiral Soenarto.
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“Up till this morning we have found 107 people, two of them dead,” Riyadi said.

“We have mobilised our SAR team, 12 speed boats from Rembang and in a moment a Nomad will be working, then a Cassa, and two helicopters from the navy and army,” Riyadi added.

Nomads and Cassas are planes. Rembang is the Central Java coastal city where many of the survivors have been taken for medical treatment. Sunday’s rescue efforts began at dawn.

The sinking of the Senopati Nusantara was the second Indonesian ferry disaster in as many days after a vessel overturned on Thursday night in rough seas off Sumatra.

High seas and bad weather hampered initial rescue attempts in both cases. Transportation Minister Hatta Rajasa has said the Senopati Nusantara was on fire before it sank. “The huge waves and storm caused the ship to burn,” he told the BBC Indonesian service late on Saturday. “We have received information that dozens of passengers had used life rafts, in addition to those (already) rescued. We are trying to rescue them,” he said.

He said the Japanese-made 2,178-tonne ship was seaworthy and had a capacity of more than 850 passengers.

“We will continue the search operation, normally until seven days, but it can be extended until we are sure that we have made our utmost efforts.”

A survivor said heavy seas had battered the ship, scattering furniture in every direction.

“The crew told us to be calm and that nothing was going to happen. But at about 11:15 p.m. the ship began to turn over and then capsized,” Irfan told Metro TV.

He said he tried to save a child but was hit by a metal bar. “I was trapped in the ship. But I was flushed out by water and I saw many people struggling to save themselves,” he said, adding that he held on to a rubber buoy before being rescued.

Another survivor, Cholid, said his 18-year-old daughter was missing. “I hope rescuers can find my daughter,” he told Elshinta radio from a hospital in Rembang.

Crew members ordered passengers to put on lifejackets before the ship sank, he said.

“Of 51 passengers, we have found four bodies and 28 people (have) been secured,” Abu Sopha Ibrahim, spokesman for South Sumatra police, said late on Sunday.

“Many of the survivors have been found by sailors on the coast along the Central to East Java provinces,” he told Xinhua over phone from Semarang, capital of the Central Java province.

He said the distance between the spot of the accident to the beach is relatively short, which is less than 20 miles.

“On average they survive, but many of them suffered from injuries,” Saiful added. Rescue work will continue during the night and on Sunday rescuers will try again to use two helicopters for searching, he said.

The Indonesian transport ministry has temporarily banned sailing from Java to Kalimantan islands which passes the waters, he said.

East Java provincial Meteorology and Geophysics Agency has also warned against sailing in the north waters of the Java Island within the next three days due to the bad weather, according to Antara news agency report.

Ships and ferries are a popular means of transport among Indonesia’s 17,000 islands, where sea connections are cheaper and more available than air routes. However, safety standards are not always enforced, and accidents occur fairly often.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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