Makassar, S Sulawesi (ANTARA) - Shipyard company PT Industri Kapal Indonesia (IKI) and Hasanuddin University's (Unhas') Faculty of Engineering reached an agreement to join forces to build a ferry serving the inter-island route of the Selayar Islands, South Sulawesi Province.

The process to build the ferry will kick off this year, and Unhas' Faculty of Engineering will be in charge of consulting and designing it, PT IKI's CEO Edy Widarto stated here on Tuesday.

"PT IKI will build the ferry," Widarto remarked, adding that the decision to cooperate with the Makassar-based public university was made by him after having met with South Sulawesi Governor Nurdin Abdullah last year.

During that time, Governor Abdullah was an attendee at an event to mark the anniversary of Selayar Islands District, and the geographical condition of the district having numerous islands and sub-districts had caught his attention, Widarto remarked.

To this end, Dean of Unhas' Faculty of Engineering Muhammad Arsyad admitted to having started several cooperation programs with PT IKI, a shipbuilding firm in Makassar City, South Sulawesi.

Apart from the plan to construct a ferry to operate on the inter-island route, Arsyad revealed another plan to build fishing boats for fishermen.

The Selayar Islands District holds huge marine resource potential and had earlier served as a trade route for Moluccas' spices.

This district is also identified as an entryway to the 530,765-hectare Takabonerate National Park. Some 220 thousand hectares of the national park area encompasses a vast expanse of atolls and lagoons.

Spanning south of the main island of Sulawesi into the Flores Sea, the Takabonerate National Park is a principally rich marine park that is home to numerous avian species.

Takabonerate hosts the third-largest atoll in the world after Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands and Suvadiva in the Maldives.

Besides atolls, this national park has 21 islands home to 242 species of corals, 526 species of colorful and strange reef fish, as well as 112 species of macroalgae.
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Translator: A.Kadir, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Azizah Fitriyanti
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