MV Senopati Nusantara

MV Senopati Nusantara
Senopati Nusantara.jpg

The M/s Senopati Nusantara was an Indonesian ferry that sank in a storm on December 30, 2006. The Japanese-made ship (built in 1969[citation needed]) was a scheduled passenger line from port of Kumai in Central Kalimantan (Borneo) to Tanjung Emas port in Semarang, East Java. About 40 km (25 mi) off Mandalika island, the ship sank during the violent storm in Java Sea. At least 400–500 people are feared to have drowned.

Initial reports claimed as many as eight hundred were on board, although this was later lowered to around 628, including 57 crew. Design capacity was 1,300 passengers.



Map of ship transportation in Indonesia; the ill-fated ship route is shown in the map.

MV Senopati Nusantara was on scheduled time to bring passengers and vehicles crossing the Java Sea from Borneo to Java islands. On December 30, 2006, the ship sunk about 40 km (25 mi) off Mandalika island. According to the manifest, the ship was carrying 628 people including 57 crew,[1] but later press releases from government officials gave an inconsistent number of total passengers.[2]

Stormy weather was the initial suggestion as the main cause of the disaster. Local officials of the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG), however, did not ban the vessel from sailing; and the official at the Kumai port issued a sailing permit based on the weather report.[2] From one survivor account, the ship rolled over and part of the body was sticking out the water before it submerged into the sea.[3]

Ship characteristics

The ship has a license to carry 850 passengers.[4]

Indonesian Transport Minister, Hatta Rajasa, has said that the ship is not old and was still sea worthy.[2] The ship was made in 1990 and underwent repairs in 2006. The vessel is 2,178 gross dead weight tons was equipped with sufficient safety gear. He said that the ship was carrying 542 passengers, 57 crew members, 29 bus/truck drivers and conductors as well as their respective vehicles during its last journey.


Survivors Found
Date Number Location/By
31 December 2006[3] 151 disaster site
31 December 2006[3] 15 a Vietnamese ship
31 December 2006[3] 11 a fishing boat
3 January 2007[5] 12 an oil rig
3 January 2007[5] 6 ashore on Java beach
5 January 2007[6] 15 Kangean island
8 January 2007[7] 14 near Bali by a cargo ship

Strong winds and sea currents hampered rescue efforts that the search and rescue team had to widen the search radius, expanding up to hundreds of kilometers away. In the first two days, the search team in helicopters faced difficulties in distinguishing survivors from the sea foam created by high waves. Even survivors on the life rafts found it difficult to stay alive. "There were three very big waves. They dragged us down, and when we re-surfaced I saw the child was dead. I took his body and tied him to the raft using my trousers," told a survivor after he was rescued by a fishing boat.[3]

Immediate rescue efforts were made by local fishermen and rescue workes. At least 177 survivors were found; 151 of them were saved ashore, 15 were picked up by a Vietnamese ship heading towards Surabaya and 11 were rescued by a fishing boat.[4] Although the Indonesian Navy had sent six warships, one CASA plane, one Bell helicopter, two speedboats, one Nomad plane, one C-130 Hercules, one CN-235 airplane and two Bolco helicopters to find survivors,[8] only a few more survivors were found in the following days, some of which were located by chance.

On January 3, 2007 (5 days after the event), twelve survivors (11 men and a six-year-old boy) were found on an unmanned oil rig 300 km (190 mi) away; another six were found on Java island.[5] They had floated in life rafts waiting to be rescued for days without food; some did not survive and their bodies had to be thrown into the water. They were taken immediately to a hospital in Surabaya. Other survivors witnessed dozens of bodies floating in the sea.

On January 5, 2007, fifteen victims were found stranded on Kangean Island.[6] On January 8, 2007, a group of fifteen survivors were picked up by a passing cargo ship from a life raft near Bali, 500 km (310 mi) away; one of them died soon after the group was rescued.[7] The fourteen survivors, who survived by drinking rainwater and eating food supplies stored in the life raft for 10 days, were then taken to Makassar, South Sulawesi.

See also


External links

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