Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan has connected the sinking of ferry KM Sinar Bangun to inadequate infrastructure facilities and a lack of discipline from both ferry service providers and sea transportation authorities.
“The National Transportation Safety Committee [KNKT] is investigating the case and we are waiting for the result,” he said in a statement in Jakarta on Friday.
Sinar Bangun capsized in Lake Toba, North Sumatra, at around 5 p.m. local time on Monday. The incident caused great concern because authorities claimed they did not know the exact number of passengers onboard, although it was estimated it might be hundreds.
Luhut reiterated the Transportation Ministry’s report on Wednesday that based on the number of people still reportedly missing, there could have been up to 192 passengers on the boat, which actually has a maximum capacity of 43 passengers.
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) had aired warnings of extreme wind and strong waves before the ferry departed.
“This incident would not have happened if ferry providers and port authorities were disciplined to adhere to the ferry's carrying capacity rules and warnings issued by the BMKG,” Luhut said.
Police have detained the ship’s captain, Situah Sagal, and questioned seven eyewitnesses, comprising three ferry crew members and three harbor authorities.
Sagal will be given trauma recovery treatment before local officers interrogate him on the number of passengers on his boat and the status of his shipping license.
“We will see whether or not he has committed a crime,” said National Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. Setyo Wasisto as quoted by tempo.co. (nor/ebf)