Subject: JP: E Timor-owned Ship sinks in Flores, three dead, eight missing

Received from Joyo Indonesia News

The Jakarta Post Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Ship sinks in Flores, three dead, eight missing

Jacob J. Herin and Jemris Fointuna, The Jakarta Post, Sikka, East Nusa Tenggara

More than 40 persons of Search and Rescue Team (SAR) have been searching the waters off Flores Island since Saturday for eight crew members of a cargo ship who went missing after their ship sank on Tuesday last week.

The eight were among the 12 crew members of the Belaza Timor ship, which is owned by a businessman in East Timor.

"Three bodies have already been found dead and one person has survived the incident," Adj. Sr. Comr. F.X. Bagus Wahyono, the chief of Sikka police precinct, said on Sunday night.

The only survivor was the captain of the ship, Kristianus Lela Sura. He was found by local residents on Saturday, or four days after the incident, in Kojadoi subdistrict in Sikka regency, a few kilometers north of Maumere, the biggest city on Flores Island. Sura has been admitted to a hospital in Maumere. Sura told police that the ship, which was carrying staple supplies, embarked from Surabaya seaport in East Java and its destination was Dilli, the capital of East Timor several weeks ago.

But, during the journey, the 1,700-ton vessel was struck by a heavy rain storm last week, in the waters off Flores Island, some 11 miles north of Maumere. The waters are part of Sikka regency territory, one of the regencies in East Nusa Tenggara province.

Unfortunately, the wooden-made cargo ship was not equipped with lifebuoys. "I ordered the crew to prepare jerrycans, which we will use as lifebuoys. They did so, but suddenly, a big wave hit our ship and sank the ship. My crew and I struggled to get to the jerrycans, but we were all separated by a big wave," he said.

Separately, the residents of Sinar Hading and Kawaliwu subdistricts on the north coast of East Flores regency found three unidentified bodies on a beach on Sunday.

Bagus Wahyono said that the three bodies would most likely be the crew members of the cargo ship. The police are investigating the identification of the bodies.

According to Sura, the 11 other crew members were Abubakar, Simon Apolla, Jhoni Pai, Jhoni Alberto, Jonathan, Abraham, Hijrah, Semy, Joe Derustam, Muhamad Sabil, and Irwan.

The joint SAR team comprising of 42 persons from the police, the Indonesian Army and Navy, were still searching for the missing crew.

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