Government to evaluate ferries after several boat accidents

Government to evaluate ferries after several boat accidents

Ferry boat . (ANTARA PhOTO/Sigid Kurniawan)

Makassar, S Sulawesi, (ANTARA News) - Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said here on Wednesday that the government would immediately conduct an evaluation on ferries operating in the country, following recent boat accidents.

"We will immediately conduct an evaluation. We will hold a meeting with transportation officers and port managers soon," he stated.

The recent big boat accidents at Lake Toba in North Sumatra and Selayar waters in South Sulawesi have prompted the central government to place water transportation in Indonesia in order.

It was revealed that all of the boats involved in the incidents had not met safety regulations and had been overloaded.

"From Selayar, I will proceed to Medan (N Sumatra) in connection with the incident at Lake Toba. I have coordinated with Basarnas (national search and rescue agency) as well as the police with regard to investigation of the incident," he noted.

Regarding KM Lestari Maju that sank in Selayar waters, the minister remarked that a team had been set up to investigate the violations made by the boat.

"We will revoke the permit if the boat had been found to have continued operating despite the expiry of its license. We are still waiting for the data and reports being collected and the results of investigation, including by the National Transportation Safety Committee. If it is found to have violated the rules, we will take stern actions, including taking those responsible to court," he asserted.

He added that the government would continue to improve the shipping condition by procuring new ships and training seamen.

According to the latest reports, 35 passengers had been found dead, while 166 were rescued in the incident involving KM Lestari Maju in Selayar. The boat`s manifest recorded 139 passengers, while a total of 190 had been evacuated.

Selayar police chief Adjunct Senior Commissioner Syamsu Ridwan revealed that "the number of passengers has indeed been higher that those in the manifest. We will investigate it. We will report the result to the minister and the regional police chief."

The MV Sinar Bangun sank in Lake Toba of North Sumatra Province on Monday (June 18) at 5:30 p.m. local time.

There were 18 passengers who survived the accident. Meanwhile, three persons were found dead, and 164 are still missing.