PELAIHARI, KOMPAS.com – Adverse weather throughout Indonesia, like the heavy rains that contributed to the downing of a Sriwijaya Air budget carrier in waters off Jakarta, proved just as hazardous for ships at sea as it does for planes.
A tugboat hauling a barge carrying 4 thousand tons of Coconut Palm Oil from Banjarmasin, [ CPO] to Surabaya, East Java learned this the hard way, after high waves wrecked the vessel off South Kalimantan province’s Tanah Laut district on Saturday, January 9.
No casualties were reported.
“The crew of the Ocean Indian tugboat reported that high waves in the area repeatedly hit the tugboat and ultimately capsized it,” said Police Chief Commissioner Supriyanto of the Indonesian National Police’s Water Police in a written statement.
“Technical glitches also played a role in the tugboat’s sinking, as the skipper reported that the ship’s main engine was on fire. While the 10-man crew managed to put the fire out and used the backup engine, the weather turned for the worse.”
Supriyanto added that “two-meter waves repeatedly hit the tugboat and sank it, forcing the crew to escape to the barge, which was known as Lili 289. They remained there until Water Police units and local people rescued them.”
He urged the crew to remain with the locals, until their palm-oil manufacturing company, whose name he did not disclose, can collect them. Supriyanto added that another tugboat from the company took the barge and its cargo to Surabaya.
(Writer: Andi Muhammad Haswar, Banjarmasin Contributor Banjarmasin| Editor : Robertus Belarminus)