Anger at Indonesia ferry search

Families of passengers join search for missing as hopes fade of finding more survivors.

    There is growing anger at what many believe is the slowness of rescue operations [Reuters] 

    "People here are emotional, upset and angry at what they believe is the slowness of rescue operations," she said, reporting from the ferry's departure port of Pare-Pare on Sulawesi.

    "There are also really heartbreaking scenes as many continue to hang on to photos of their loved ones."

    In Majene, a town north of Pare-pare, some relatives pooled money on Wednesday to rent boats to join the search.

    "We are not satisfied with the search and rescue. We want to look ourselves," Azwar, who said he had family members on the ferry, told the website.

    Indonesian authorities are continuing investigations as to whether the ferry may have had up to 103 more people on board than at first thought after many of their names did not appear on the manifest, an official said.

    According to the official manifest, the ferry was carrying 250 passengers and 17 crew, but Bambang Ervan, a transport ministry spokesman, told Reuters news agency that at least 103 more could have been on board.

    However, officials have denied the ferry was overloaded.


    Relatives continue to hope more survivors
    will be found [Reuters]
    The ship went down in amid heavy seas in an area known as the Makassar Strait, between the islands of Sulawesi and Borneo.

    Rescuers say that intense searches have been hampered by continuing bad weather, with waves of 4-6 metres reported in the area.

    No survivors have been found since Tuesday.

    Indonesia's transport minister has said investigators are trying to determine why the captain had ignored warnings not to cross the Makassar Strait because of bad weather caused by tropical cyclone Charlotte.

    Ferry transport is a crucial means of transport in Indonesia, a massive archipelago of some 17,000 islands and 234 million people.

    But the country's ageing transport system has been plagued by a spate of disasters in recent years including ferry and air accidents.

    Sea accidents routinely claim hundreds of lives each year, largely due to poor enforcement of safety regulations and overcrowding.

    In December 2006, a crowded Indonesian ferry broke apart and sank in the Java Sea during a violent storm, killing more than 400 people.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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