Rescue teams were searching Monday for at least 31 people missing after a speedboat sank off the remote Aru Islands in eastern Indonesia, media reports said.
The Dolphin, believed to have been carrying 35 people, sank Wednesday after being hit by large waves during bad weather en route from Dobo island to the Tual district in southern Maluku province, the state-run Antara news agency reported.
Rescue workers had picked up three bodies and a survivor by late Sunday, while 31 others were still missing and feared drowned. Most of the passengers were Chinese people working for a local fishing company.
“A ban for sail was issued at that time because of bad weather,” Aru police chief Senior Adjunct Commissioner Solihin said, according to media reports. Mr. Solihin, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name, accused the captain and crew of the Dolphin of ignoring the ban, and sailing out through an unsupervised dock. He added that the speedboat’s departure was not reported to the harbour master.
Rescue workers joined by local fishermen were continuing their search for the missing people, Bram Amahoru of the Dobo harbour master’s office said Monday.
Deadly sea accidents are common in Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago nation, in large part due to the lax enforcement of safety regulations.