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Jakarta Post

KNKT to probe truck cargo in fatal ferry fire

  • Wahyoe Boediwardhana

    The Jakarta Post

Surabaya, East Java   /   Sun, May 21, 2017   /   08:37 pm
KNKT to probe truck cargo in fatal ferry fire Sea accident: Passenger vessel KM Mutiara Sentosa I gets prepares to travel to Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, on May 18. The vessel caught fire in waters off Masalembo waters, on May 19, killing at least five passengers on board. (Courtesy of Basarnas Surabaya/File)

The National Transportation Safety Commission (KNKT) will investigate a truck onboard the ill-fated KM Mutiara Santosa I ferry that caught fire in Masalembo waters off Madura Island in East Java. The tragedy claimed five lives over the weekend.

From several witnesses, the fire started from a green truck covered in blue tarpaulin parked on the first deck. The crew and passengers initially managed to put down the fire, however the blaze started again. An explosion erupted when the tarp of the truck was opened. The explosion shocked the passengers, who then immediately tried to flee as the fire amplified, KNKT head Soerjanto Tjahjono said.

“We will focus on the truck. Who was the owner and what was the cargo?” he said on Sunday at the Search and Rescue post at Tanjung Perak Port in Surabaya, East Java.

Once the investigation is complete, a team from the commission will draw up new standards to prevent dangerous cargo from getting onboard ships.

The vessel, heading to Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, from Surabaya, caught fire on Friday afternoon.

Surabaya Search and Rescue Office head Mochammad Arifin said the joint team evacuated 197 people onboard. This figure does not match up to the ship’s manifest. However, there are no reports of missing family members among the survivors.

The joint team has officially ended the search for victims, but will continue to monitor the situation for the next seven days.