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Nearly 100 Saved in Ferry Accident off Batam

Nearly 100 Saved in Ferry Accident off Batam
All 97 passengers travelling on board a ferry to Singapore from Batam were rescued after the vessel hit a floating object in the water on Sunday night .

In a statement that night, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said that it had received a report that the Indonesia-registered ferry, Sea Prince, had hit a floating object after leaving the Nongsapura ferry terminal in Batam.

Passengers to whom The Straits Times spoke on Monday (Nov 30) said they were taken back to the ferry terminal on wooden boats after water entered the life rafts they were on.

One of the passengers, Ms Chella Ho, 29, said that while passengers were getting on to the life raft, water starting seeping through, causing the raft to sink shortly after.

"The water went into the boat and we were sinking... There were people crying and panicking,"she said, adding that some had also lost their passports while getting from the ferry to the boat.

At the time of the incident, 97 passengers, including 51 Singaporeans and seven crew members, were on board. It is understood that other passengers were British, South Korean and Portuguese, among other nationalities, and no one was injured.

While the ferry operator, Batamfast, activated two vessels to transfer the passengers to the Nongsapura ferry terminal, it is understood that they were not able to enter the channel where the ferry was located, as it was too narrow.

In response to queries from The Straits Times on Monday, Ms Christina Siaw, chief executive officer of Singapore Cruise Centre, said that 95 passengers were on board the ferry that arrived at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal at 12.21 am on Monday.

Two of the passengers decided to stay back in Nongsapura and did not board the ferry back to Singapore, she said.

"We have been informed by the ferry operator that none of the passengers sustained injuries," she added.

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