Safety lapses blamed for Indonesia ship tragedy

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Jakarta, June 22 (IANS) The Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs in Indonesia said on Friday that non-compliance with safety rules was the reason a ship sank earlier this week in a lake on Sumatra island.

The Monday incident left three people dead and 192 missing, while 19 survived.

“This incident would not have happened if ferry providers and port authorities were disciplined to adhere to the ferry’s carrying capacity rules and warnings issued by the BMKG (Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics),” Luhut Panjaitan was cited as saying by Efe news.

The boat’s captain, a 42-year-old Indonesian man, was detained on Thursday.

The overloaded ferry did not have a passenger list and also accepted motorcycles, making it difficult to specify the exact number of missing.

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The accident happened on Lake Toba while the boat was covering a six-kilometre stretch between Tigaras and Samosir island amid high waves and bad weather.

Search operations are expected to conclude on Saturday.

Lake Toba is located in the crater of a supervolcano that erupted around 74,000 years ago.

–IANS

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