Heavy seas in the Bali Straits between Bali and Java on Thursday evening, August 30, 2012, are blamed for the grounding of a ferry carrying cars and passengers to the port of Gilimanuk on Bali’s western shore.
The ferry Citra Mandala Sakti, captained by Martin Luther (35), was carrying 79 passengers, 7 cars, 19 motorcycles, 3 trucks and 3 pick-up trucks while idling outside the entrance to the port when a large wave swept the ship onto a coral reef.
The incident occurred at approximately 9:00 pm. Initial efforts to move the ship off the reef were unsuccessful, prompting the Captain to request assistance from a sister-ship, the ferry Satria Nusantara. A steel cable thrown to the stranded ship broke at 9:45 pm. A second effort to pull the ship off at 11:30 pm was also unsuccessful due to increasing currents in the straits.
As midnight approached, Captain Luther requested emergency assistance to evacuate the ship's passengers, which brought zodiac ships from the Indonesian Navy and the Jembrana Water Police. Evacuation efforts were later assisted by boats from the Indonesian Search and Rescue (SAR) team.
Authorities provided passengers with life jackets for the ride to shore, with many passengers reportedly reluctant to leave their vehicles on the stranded ship. The passengers were taken to a VIP hall at the port of Gilimanuk, given food and allowed to sleep on the floor of the facility while waiting for high tide the continuing efforts to refloat the ship to recommence.
All passengers were safely brought to shore.
On Friday a tugboat was deployed to the scene. After an initial effort to pull the ship back into deeper water at 9:30 a.m. failed, the boats was finally freed at 10:45 am after being stranded for 13 hours.
The passengers were able to re-board to vessel at 11:30 am to retrieve possessions and vehicles in order to continue their journey.
An inspection by Port Officials determined that the ship has not suffered any serious damage in the grounding that would represent a safety threat to the ship’s continuing operation. The Port Master (Syahbandar), Made Rai Ardana, blamed the grounding on the severe weather and a lack of familiarity with port conditions by the ship’s captain.
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