Video: Indonesian Passenger Ferry Catches Fire in Molucca Sea

Passenger video courtesy DGST

Published May 31, 2021 2:31 AM by The Maritime Executive

On Saturday, an Indonesian passenger ferry caught fire in the remote Molucca Sea, forcing the passengers and crew to abandon ship. 

At about 0700 hours on Saturday morning, the ferry Karya Indah was under way on a voyage from Ternate to Sulabes when a fire broke out. When the master ordered abandon ship, the passengers and crew jumped over the side in lifejackets and boarded the vessel's liferafts. SAR assets got under way at about 0850, according to Indonesian coast guard agency Basarnas, and the first responders were on scene at about 1020 hours. 

All 181 passengers and 14 crewmembers listed on the vessel's manifest were safe and accounted for, Indonesia's Directorate General of Sea Transportation (DGST) said Saturday. However, on Sunday, the total number of passengers on the manifest was revised upwards to 257, plus one individual who is believed missing.

The wife of passenger Dedi Hidayat, 43, reported that he had been on board and had not returned, according to Kompas. Search efforts are under way. 

The head of the Ternate office of Indonesian coast guard agency Basarnas confirmed to local outlet Okezone that the survivor count recorded by responders was at odds with the number of individuals on the manifest. He allowed that this made it challenging to assess the exact number of passengers who were on board the vessel.

The burned-out Karya Indah has been towed to a nearby island for evaluation.