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IMO offers condolences over Indonesian ferry disaster

IMO offers condolences over Indonesian ferry disaster

London: The IMO secretary general Efthimios Mitropoulos has issued a message of condolence to all those involved in the ferry disaster off the coast of Indonesia. He said, "The thoughts and prayers of the entire IMO membership, the Secretariat and myself go out to all those who have lost their lives and, of course, to their families, friends and loved ones."

An estimated 400 people remain unaccounted for from the ferry Senopati Nusantara, which sank on Saturday. Officials have said that the 2,178-ton vessel was carrying 628 passengers and 57 crew members from Kalimantan on Borneo island to Semaran when she went down.

Although latest reports indicate approximately 200 survivors, accounts of the number of confirmed deaths vary. "We are having problems because the victims are spread all across the beaches from Jepara to Rembang to Tuban," said Toni Syaiful, spokesman for the Indonesian Navy's eastern fleet. Rescue efforts involving a fleet of 20 vessels and 10 aircrafts have been hampered by extremely bad weather, but are expected to continue over the next week.

No causes have been attributed to the disaster at present. Mitropoulos said, "We must wait until the Indonesian authorities have concluded their investigations.  IMO is eager to receive the reports of any enquiries and, if there are lessons to be learnt, we will take prompt action, particularly in the context of the technical co-operation project that we are currently carrying out with Interferry to enhance the safety of non-Convention ferries, including domestic passenger ferries."  [02/01/07]