Indonesia boat accident a reminder for tourists

The recent ferry accident in Sulawesi is the latest in a long line of Indonesian adventures at sea. The world’s largest archipelago depends upon sea transport to get people and good from place to place. Accidents are going to happen and when they do it every man for himself.

Here’s more from the Jakarta Post.

Rescuers recover 31 bodies after ferry disaster

JAKARTA (JP): As of Saturday, rescuers had recovered the bodies of 31 people on board a ferry that sunk Thursday near Baubau in Southeast Sulawesi, Elshinta radio reported.

Elshinta said the team was continuing to search for 35 people still unaccounted for after the incident.

On Thursday night, KM Acita III sunk after dozens of passengers climbed onto its roof in search of a stronger cell phone signal to call waiting relatives.

Authorities said the ferry was carrying more than 100 passengers from Wakatobi island to Baubau when the incident occurred.

Reading between the lines of the Jakarta Post article, its obvious the vessel was overloaded, with goods and passengers, who were free to roam wherever they wanted. Having travelled by ferry all over Indonesia, I know that boat captains shipping freight, will often sell tickets to people, allowing them to camp out all over the ship, generating extra income. During one trip from Padang to the Mentawais, the boat I was on was caught in a storm close to the harbor. Solution: turn the engine off and drift for an hour, about 20 locals in the wheel house along with the guy steering, and no electronic navigational equipment (this being a fair sized ferry).

If you do go travelling around Indonesia by ferry, you’ll probably have a great time and see wonderful sights. Having your own life jacket handy might make sense.