Two missing after cargo vessel sinks off Sulawesi


Nine of the 17 crew members aboard MV Emeline cargo vessel, which sunk off the Selayar Islands, South Sulawesi, as of Thursday remained stranded out on the rough seas. Search and rescue teams have not been able to reach and evacuate them.

Hamsidar, head of the Makassar office of the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), said that the nine crew members were on lifecrafts, waiting for help.

The ill-fated vessel departed from Soekarno-Hatta sea port in Makassar and was headed to Banyuwangi, East Java, to transport cement. When the ship started sinking, its crew members evacuated onto lifecrafts. However, two of them fell into the sea and had not yet been found.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mahakam River vessel, which happened to pass the area, managed to save six of the crew members. The Mahakam River boat, which was on its way to Surabaya from Makassar, was immediately forced to save itself amid bad weather in the Bulukumba area.

Information about the sinking ship was received by Basarnas Makassar and the Makassar port management office at 9 a.m. on Wednesday. “We have not received information on the cause of the incident as we have not been able to contact the crew members,” Salehudin, head of the port management office, said on Thursday.

However, it was believed that the ship sank after being hit by high waves and strong winds amid heavy rains.

Basarnas Makassar had deployed a number of personnel on a rescue boat to search for the nine crew members. The rescue team had coordinated with personnel from the fourth Navy base in Makassar.

On Thursday morning, Basarnas Makassar deployed a helicopter belonging to the Bosowa Group to pinpoint the exact location of the survivors. “But we failed to reach the location due to strong winds, which were coming at a speed of 40 to 70 knots per hour,” Hamsidar said.

Meanwhile, MV Angle cargo vessel, from Vietnam, which had 20 Vietnamese crew members onboard, has been stranded at Cemara Beach in West Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), since Monday evening also due to bad weather.

As of Thursday, the NTB Water Police were still coordinating with Lembar port administrator and Basarnas NTB to help the Vietnamese ship.

“The ship is still stranded on Cemara Beach and we are still waiting for a tide to help the vessel from leaving the area,” NTB Police spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr. Sukarman Husein said on Thursday.

According to Sukarman, his subordinates had made inventory and asked for information from both the crew members and captain of the boat, Trans Ngoc Thach, 45.

Sukarman explained that the vessel was hit by high waves and strong winds moments after sailing from Lembar port, West Lombok.

“The vessel was empty at the time of the incident,” he said, adding that there was no damage or casualties during the incident.

Lembar port sea traffic section head Jasra explained that MV Angle arrived at the port a week ago, transporting cement.

After uploading the cement, the vessel left Lembar port for Singapore, Jasra said.

Mataram Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysic Agency officer Ni Kadek Setiawan explained that the bad weather in NTB was due to tropical cyclone Narelle, which took place to the south of Bali.

“The Narelle cyclone is on the Indian Ocean to the northwest of Australia,” she said.





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