Passengers had to be evacuated from a burning ferry servicing the Bali to Java route on Thursday afternoon.
The rear engine of the KMP Labitra Adinda caught fire around 2:20pm right as the boat was queueing to dock at the Port of Ketapang in Banyuwangi, East Java, according to Banyuwangi Water Police Comr. Subandi.
The ferry was carrying 18 passengers and 12 crew members, along with five trucks, five dump trucks, two motorcycles.
The route across the Bali Strait is a popular one, leaving from the Port of Gilimanuk in Jembrana, West Bali to Ketapang and is usually just a quick 30-minute ride–that is when the ferry doesn’t catch fire.
“When the fire first appeared, the ship was still positioned at sea, located 200 meters from the beach,” Subandi said, as quoted by Kompas.
Passengers were evacuated using another boat, the KMP Karya Maritim II, while the ferry’s crew rescued on rubber boats belonging to Basarnas (Search & Rescue) and water police.
“It was a difficult time evacuating passengers and crew because the wave conditions were very high, up to three meters. We asked the crew to jump one by one to the rubber boats,” Subandi explained.
All passengers survived and there were no reported injuries, head of Jembrana Water Police Unit, Insp. Eddy Waluyo told Okezone.
The boat itself was eventually moved to Bulusan Beach, which runs about one kilometer from Ketapang Port. The fire was reportedly thought to be successfully extinguished around 5:30pm, but reemerged, and wasn’t totally extinguished til later in the evening.