Jakarta. The National Transportation Safety Committee, or KNKT, issued several recommendations on Friday (20/07) in response to a recent spate of fatal boating accidents in the country.
In the middle of June, a wooden ferryboat with nearly 200 passengers on board sank in Lake Toba, North Sumatra. Eighteen people survived, while only three bodies have been recovered so far.
Early in July, another ferryboat with more than 100 passengers on board sank off the Selayar Islands in South Sulawesi, resulting in at least 12 fatalities.
In the latest incident, a fishing vessel sank near Puger Beach in Jember, East Java, on Thursday, resulting in five fatalities. Seven crewmembers are still missing.
This series of accidents prompted the KNKT to reassess safety procedures in consultation with the Ministry of Transportation, North Sumatra Transportation Agency and Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).
The KNKT has issued several recommendations to the Transportation Ministry, North Sumatra Transportation Agency, BMKG and passenger boat operators, to urgently evaluate safety procedures to prevent any further incidents.
KNKT chairman Soerjanto Tjahjono said in a statement that the number of fatal accidents in rail and air transportation have been reduced significantly in recent years after implementing 80 percent of the committee's recommendations, while water transportation has yet to comply.
Soerjanto also recommended the installation of so-called black boxes in road transportation vehicles, such as trucks and busses, to enable regulators to accurately determine the cause of any accident.
One of the KNKT's recommendations to boat operators is to strictly adhere to passenger limits on every journey. Overloading seems to have been the main factor in the Lake Toba incident.
The KNKT also urged boat operators to provide every passenger with a life jacket.
"Store the life jackets in places where they can easily be seen and accessed," the committee said.