The ferry caught fire in the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra, about three kilometres (two miles) from the port of Merak at the westernmost tip of Java, at around 3:30 am (2030 GMT Thursday)."Thirteen people have been killed," Transport Ministry director for maritime passenger services Wiratno, who goes by one name, said, adding more than 400 people had survived."The fire has gone and the burnt ferry is now located close to a beach," he said Wiratno said personnel from the port, navy and police were still conducting a search of the area for passengers.The survivors jumped into the sea wearing life jackets and were picked up by boats, he added. Many were transferred to two hospitals in Cilegon on Java for treatment.The vessel had been on its way to Bakauheni, the main port on the southernmost tip of Sumatra.The Indonesian archipelago of more than 17,000 islands is heavily dependent on ferry services but the industry has a poor safety record and fatal accidents are common.Up to 335 people were killed when a heavily overloaded ferry sank off the island of Sulawesi in January 2009.
Institute for Transportation Studies researcher Izzul Waro linked the numerous accidents to the archipelago's complex geography but also to the lack of a solid transportation safety system."Many people still neglect the already established safety system in practice.
Our rescuers also still need better training or emergency simulation to anticipate accidents," Waro said."A comprehensive audit is needed soon for sea transport in the country," he added
Who: The ferry caught
What: The fire
When: On 3:30 am, Thursday
Where: the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and
Why: Institute for Transportation Studies researcher Izzul Waro linked the numerous accidents to the archipelago's complex geography but also to the lack of a solid transportation safety system.