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Ship carrying 60 people missing in Indonesia

world Updated: Jul 11, 2007 20:26 IST
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A passenger ship carrying 60 people disappeared in eastern Indonesia after reporting engine failure in stormy seas, a port official said on Wednesday.

A baby's body was found drifting in nearby waters along with several survivors.

The KM Wahai Star was on a regular voyage from Buru island to Ambon, the capital of Maluku province, when it lost contact just before midnight on Tuesday, said Karim Tuanaya, acting head of the local port authority.

The ship was carrying 43 passengers and 17 crew when its engine broke down after encountering three-meter-high (three-yard-high) waves, he said, but it was not immediately clear if it sank.

An oil tanker plucked a baby's body from the sea and rescued 14 other people, Tuanaya said, adding that he had not yet heard any reports from survivors about the apparent accident.

A search was under way involving some ships, but huge waves were hampering those efforts, he said.

Indonesia, the world's largest archipelagic nation, has been hit by a series of sea transportation disasters in recent months. In late December, a passenger ferry sank in a storm in the Java Sea, killing more than 400 people.