A spokesman of the Ambon port administrator, Joko, said here on Thursday the evacuation was done by traditional boats belonging to coastal fishermen due to bad weather.
"It is difficult to deploy a SAR team or a medical team to Latdalam village in South Tanimbar subdistrict because the waves reached four to six meter high and it was raining very hard with strong winds," he said.
He said the number of deaths could not as yet be confirmed as efforts to find them were still underway.
The boat only weighed 33 gross tons and so with the number of passengers known so far it must have undergone overcapacity.
"The incident must have indeed claimed victims because of the overcapacity issue and in view of the weather which was very extreme at the time of incident," he said.
"Thank God 100 passengers have been safe but we still do not know the fate of the others," Joko said.
KM Acu left Saumlaki port at around 6am local time and was expected to reach Sera island in five or six hours but due to a bad weather the incident happened. (*)