Coastal passenger wooden boat sank in Malacca Strait near Batam, Indonesia. The vessel with over 93 illegal workers and 4 crew was sailing from Johor, Malaysia, to Batam in bad weather, but on half a mile from the shore capsized after hitting a reef. The nearby fishermen succeeded to rescue 39 people, while 18 were found dead and another 39 are still missing. The local authorities started large-scale search and rescue operation, engaging nearby fishing ships, cargo vessel, rescue boats and helicopter. After more than 10 hours of SAR, the rescuers did not found anyone from the missing passengers.
The investigation for the root cause of capsizing is under way. According to some information, the boat hit a reef and capsized. In all the cases authorities confirmed that the wooden boat was overloaded with more people than its capacity.
The people on board of the wooden boat were illegal migrant workers from Malaysia. At the scene of the accident arrived the local police officers, who will take witness evidences from the rescued passengers.
“There were totally 97 people on board, including the four crew”, said one of the rescued migrants. “The ship departed in from the port Sei Deli Johor at 03.00 local time and around 05:30 pm in Nongsa waters, when vessel suddenly hit something and capsized “, added he.
Meanwhile the National Agency for Placement and Protection of Indonesian Workers ensure that will search for process for repatriation of migrant workers who are victims of the sinking in the waters of Batam. Although the 93 workers who were on board to be illegal workers, the State is still obliged to provide protection for their rights as citizens.