A joint team of rescuers found MV Asri II floating adrift in the island’s waters around 4 p.m. local time, head of the Search and Rescue Agency (SAR)-Maumere Office, Lalu Wahyu Effendi, informed.
The vessel, which was headed to Sabolo Island with 11 tourists and two crew members on board, ran into trouble after its steering wheel broke due to big waves, he said.
Shortly after locating the vessel, rescuers evacuated the 11 tourists to Labuan Bajo using a rescue boat, Effendi added.
The ship’s skipper and his workmate did not join the evacuation. Instead, they remained in the vessel to repair the broken steering wheel, he said.
Indonesia remains vulnerable to sea accidents. In August 2020, for instance, 10 traditional fishermen were rescued after their longboat caught fire while they were diving for fish in Kapota waters, Wakatobi district, Southeast Sulawesi province.
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The accident occurred about 14 nautical miles from the Wakatobi post of the Search and Rescue (SAR) Agency.
On July 12, 2020, the skipper of a speedboat, identified as Asek, went missing after his vessel collided with another boat in Kubu River, Kubu Raya, West Kalimantan province.
Local rescuers found the body of the 40-year-old skipper about 5.4 kilometers from the site of the accident, according to head of the Pontianak office of the SAR Agency, Yopi Haryadi.
On July 5, 2020, five passengers of Motor Vessel Kasih 25 went missing after the vessel capsized in the Fukuafu waters, off Kupang district, East Nusa Tenggara province.
In June 2020, a tugboat, Multi Sahabat 8, capsized in the Batu Ampar waters, off Batam Island, Riau Islands province. Although four of the tugboat’s crew survived, its skipper went missing.
In another accident in West Sumatra province, three fishermen went missing after their fishing boat sank near Gosong Gadang Island in Padang.
On June 18, 2018, several passengers traveling on board MV Sinar Bangun lost their lives after the vessel capsized in Lake Toba, North Sumatra. Out of the 202 passengers who were reportedly traveling on the boat at the time, only 21 survived, while 3 lost their lives, and 164 went missing.
The boat tragedy came at a time when the Indonesian government was making all-out efforts to promote Lake Toba as one of the 10 priority ‘Beyond Bali’ destinations.