Indonesian ship carrying 35 tons of kerosene caught fire

In the early hours of October 21, at the Kabau Speedboat Harbor, Mamoking Hamlet, Tulehu Village, Salahutu District, Seram Regency, KM Sayang Salsabila, a ship carrying 35 tons of kerosene, caught fire. According to Second Inspector (Ipda) Moyo Utomo, head of public relations, Ambon City Police, there was no fatality but two crew members, La Samina and Arobi, suffered minor burns to their hands and feet.

KM Sayang Salsabila docked at the harbor on October 20. In the middle of the night, the ship was on fire, burning all the cargo and the ship itself. the total damage is estimated at billions of rupiah, including the kerosene cargo which was worth IDR 500 million (SG$48,000). 

The captain of the ship, Samsudin (50 years old) and several crew members, including the victims, were questioned by the police. According to their statements, Arobi (30 years old) at 11 pm Central Maluku time, was working in the engine room together with Samsudin, Malik and La Simina, when suddenly the lights went off. Arobi and Malik then went up to the deck to start the engine and sparks came out of the carburetor, igniting a fire.

Arobi and Malik tried putting out the fire with a wet cloth but was unsuccessful. The fire spread across the deck and the kerosene cargo went up in flames. Samsudin, the captain, said he was not aware of the fire when it first started as he was in the engine room below with La Simina, the ship’s owner. When he realized the ship was on fire, he ran to cut off the rope tied to the ship moored next to KM Sayang Salsabila to prevent the fire from spreading.

This accident was the latest in a list of other maritime accidents, including the KM Glory Mary accident where the captain left his ship unattended when he went to the toilet, and 11 crew members missing from a cargo ship during rough weather. These two accidents happened two months ago.

KM Sayang Salsabila went down in flames with its kerosene cargo. Photo credit: National Transportation Safety Commission (KNKT)

Jazzy I. Perdana, director, project and business development, PT. Samudera Energi Tangguh, said the shipping industry must comply strictly with safety procedures. “However, it is not enough just to use existing procedures or standards, but these standards must also be developed,” he said. PT. Samudera Energi Tangguh, a subsidiary of PT. Samudera Indonesia, has never experienced an incident at sea, because the company strictly adheres to procedures, and also always undertakes security assessments and certifications.

Accidents often happen to small shipping companies, like small vessels used for ferrying people between islands. Regulators, ship owners and all stakeholders must ensure their safety as people’s lives are at stake. To raise the safety standard of the maritime industry, the government has to make sure the BKI (Indonesian Classification Bureau) is up to the standard of other international classification societies, and is qualified to join the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS).

Top photo credit: iStock/ Alexisaj. Stock photo of a burning boat.

Angiola Harry

Angiola Harry

Angiola is a Jakarta-based award-winning journalist, and a novel and book author. He is also an active microstock photography contributor at Adobe Stock and Shutterstock.

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