Video: Indonesian Ferry Ran Aground When First Officer Fell Asleep
A large Indonesian inter-island ferry ran aground early on August 23 after making an overnight trip from the western region. The Indonesia Navy is reporting that 202 passengers and 17 crew were safely evacuated while the investigation is ongoing into the circumstances behind the grounding.
The Indonesian Navy commander for the northern region received reports that the KM Glory Mary, an approximately 1,000 gross ton ferry had grounded around 4:00 a.m. local time in the northern Talaud Islands region of Indonesia. The four-year-old ferry was nearing its final port of Beo in the Talaud Islands after having departed the prior afternoon from Manado in the western region of Indonesia.
The official report is that the vessel encountered bad weather with rain and fog greatly reducing visibility. It was still dark out at the time but they said the waters were calm and only a slight wind. However, unofficial reports in the local media are citing comments from the local police of crew negligence as a contributing factor to the grounding.
The captain of the vessel, Mary Alprens Harimisa, reportedly had excused herself leaving the bridge to go to the bathroom. While she was off the bridge she left the first officer, Junimus Sirape, in command. Returning to the bridge the news report said the captain discovered that the ferry was heading for the shoreline.
“I immediately ran and tried to grab the wheel and tried to avoid the reef, but the effort was unsuccessful,” she reportedly told investigators. Unconfirmed media reports however are quoting the local police chief indicating that the first officer had fallen asleep while the captain was in the bathroom.
Riding far up onto the shore, the vessel tilted dramatically causing panic among the passengers. However, it remained on an even keel permitting an orderly evacuation onto small boats which ferried the passengers to shore.
The police and maritime officials are continuing to interview the crew members. Initial reports indicate that the machinery aboard the vessel was all functioning properly at the time of the grounding.
“Thankfully there were no victims, all the passengers are safe,” the local commander told the news media. “Passengers have been successfully evacuated, while there is no serious injury to KM Glory Mary.”
The ferry did not suffer any significant hull damage but the local authorities said it was high on the beach as the tide had receded after the grounding. They attempted to have the vessel pulled free on two occasions but were not successful. They hope to refloat the ferry on the high tide on August 26.