Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Navy (TNI AL) has deployed an aircraft to check on the condition of the passenger vessel KM Vivie Rae II stranded in the Arafura Sea, a navy commander reported here on Monday.

Commander of the Navy Main Base in Merauke, Brigadier General Gatot Mardiyono, told ANTARA that since Sunday (March 5), the Navy's Casa plane had been patrolling the area where KM Vivie Rae II was stranded.

In addition to the aircraft, it deployed a warship KRI Tarakan from Ambon, Maluku, to aid the stranded KM Vivie Rae II.

The Navy had communicated with the crew of the ship carrying aboard six tourists from Mashall Island.

Based on the communication results with the crew, it was known that all passengers were in good health, Mardiyono remarked.

Earlier, Chief of the Merauke Search and Rescue (SAR) Office Supriyanto Ridwan stated that a joint SAR team was compelled to postpone the operation of evacuating KM Vivie Rae II due to unfavorable weather conditions.

"The joint SAR team using KN (navigation ship) Merpati returned to the Merauke navigation pier on Sunday at 2 a.m. local time, since upon arrival in the waters of Habee Island, the sea conditions had become more extreme," he explained.

KN Merpati is still waiting for the weather to improve to continue the rescue operation. His side also conducted e-broadcasts to ships passing around the whereabouts of KM Vivie Rae II to ask for assistance.

KM Vivie Rae II, sailing from Marshall Island on February 26 to Sorong, is carrying six tourists comprising two South African citizens, one American, two Canadians, and one Britisher.

The ship has been stranded since Thursday (March 2) after experiencing engine failure due to a rope wrapped around the propeller.

The ship is located south of Komoran Island, some 300 km from the Merauke pier.

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Translator: Evarukdijati, Kenzu
Editor: Sri Haryati
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