30 dead, dozens missing as a ship sinks | world | Hindustan Times
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30 dead, dozens missing as a ship sinks

world Updated: Oct 19, 2007 17:10 IST

At least 30 people were killed and dozens are still missing after a passenger ship sank near the town of Bau Bau in Indonesia's southeast Sulawesi province, officials said on Friday.

"We found 30 bodies so far," search and rescue team chief Roki Asikin told DPA.

"Most of bodies were trapped inside the ship, but we were able to pluck 125 survivors from the waters," Asikin said.

The ship Acita 03 was en route from Wakatobi regency to the town of Bau Bau when it sank just 500 metres from shore on Thursday night.

Residents and local fishermen heard survivors screaming from help.

Bau Bau is about 1,500 km from Indonesia's capital Jakarta.

"The ship did not have a passenger manifest, but it was absolutely overloaded, because it carried almost 200 passengers while its maximum capacity was only 35 passengers," Asikin said.

"We continue to search for survivors, we think at least 30 passengers are still missing," he added.

Boat travel is common in Indonesia, a vast archipelago nation of more than 17,000 islands.

In December last year, a passenger ferry carrying more than 600 people capsized in rough seas off Java island, killing more than 300.

In February, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ordered passenger boat operators to improve safety, after scores of people were killed when a ferry caught fire off Jakarta.

Ferries provide popular and cheap transportation for the country's 230 million people, but safety standards are often ignored and overloading is common.