33 feared drowned in Indonesia

February 1, 2010 12:00 am

, JAKARTA, Feby 1 – Thirty-three people including 25 Chinese nationals are feared to have drowned after their speed boat sank in heavy seas off eastern Indonesia last week, police said Monday.

Maluku province police spokesman John Huwae said the 12-metre (40-foot) long vessel was travelling from Aru to Tual islands when it sank on Thursday due to bad weather.

"One Chinese passenger was found alive and an Indonesian crew member was found dead," he told AFP, adding that the search for any survivors continued.

The boat\’s skipper had ignored warnings from the meteorological office about bad weather, he said.

Indonesia\’s 234 million people are spread across 17,000 islands and are heavily dependent on a network of ships and boats, which have a poor safety record.

Up to 335 people were killed when a heavily overloaded ferry sank off Sulawesi island in January last year. In December 2006 a ferry went down in a storm off the coast of Java, killing more than 500 people.


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