Five people died in a fire on board Mutiara Sentosa I Ro-Pax ferry on Friday, May 19 while the Indonesian-flagged ship was underway in Masalembo waters of East Java.
A total of 192 survivors have been rescued by the National Search and Rescue Agency of the Republic of Indonesia. After two days of search and rescue operation for potential missing persons, the operation was terminated on Sunday, May 21, the agency said, adding that the agency’s personnel are still monitoring the situation.
The cause of the fire is believed to be a gas cylinder from one of the passenger vehicles that exploded while on the ferry’s car deck.
Initially the vessel’s crew members tried to extinguish the fire caused by the blast but as they were unable to do so due to the extent of the blaze and velocity of its spreading, the captain ordered all passengers to abandon ship using either lifeboats or life jackets.
As disclosed, preliminary numbers indicated that the vessel had carried 178 people on board, however, the search and rescue operation resulted in the total count of 197 people.
The 1988-built ship was en route from Surabaya to Balikpapan when the incident occurred.
World Maritime News Staff