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At least 54 killed in Indonesia boat sinking

4 November 2016 14:28

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At least 54 people have died in the sinking of an overcrowded boat carrying migrant workers in the sea off the Indonesian island of Batam.  

Police and rescue agency officials on Friday provided updates on the incident which happened on Wednesday after rescuers found more bodies.

The speedboat carrying 101 migrant workers and their families from Malaysia capsized in stormy weather and 41 of the passengers were rescued. Six people are still missing.

Officials say two of the three crew who survived the sinking have been arrested on suspicion of a shipping violation.

The head of the local search and rescue agency said strong winds and currents were hampering efforts by rescuers to look below the surface.


Indonesian police are seen unloading bodies from a boat accident in Indonesian waters off Batam, November 2, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Police suspect the trip was illegal and the workers were undocumented because of the high fares that the survivors said they had paid.

Speedboats and ferries are a common form of transport in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago with more than 17,000 islands.

Maritime incidents are common due to the poor enforcement of safety regulations on boats and ferries, which offer a relatively cheap form of transportation and are often full to the brim.

One of the worst ferry incidents in Indonesia in recent years occurred off the country’s Sulawesi Island in 2009, killing more than 330 people.

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