Sinking of the MV Teratai Prima

The MV Teratai Prima was an Indonesian ferry that sank on January 11, 2009, around 04:00 local time (January 10, 21:00 UTC) in the Makassar Strait off West Sulawesi due to stormy weather.

Survivors stated that the ferry had been slammed by 4-metre (13 ft) waves twice.[citation needed] The first one hit so hard that the ship became unbalanced (witnesses said the angle approached 30 degrees), before another wave hit from a different direction and sunk the vessel.

Based on the manifest of the ship before sailing, the ferry was carrying 250 passengers and 17 crew at the time of sinking. However, it is believed that the vessel actually was bringing more. Some speculation say that it had over 300 passengers when it was leaving the coast of Pare-Pare. By January 17, 42 people (including the ship's captain) were believed to have been rescued by fishermen and searchers. The captain is being investigated for allegedly ignoring warnings from the Indonesian weather agency that conditions on the crossing were too dangerous. The ferry was making an overnight journey from Pare-Pare, South Sulawesi to Samarinda, East Kalimantan.

Smaller vessels were directed to abandon the search while four navy warships and two patrol boats continued the search for survivors. Sunaryo, a transport ministry maritime official, said, "We are facing very bad weather and rough seas. We don't want to take any risks by sending small boats."

Waves and driving rain from a cyclone that capsized a ferry off Sulawesi Island in Indonesia were hampering rescuers' efforts as they searched for more than 250 missing people on Monday.

Most of the passengers were sleeping onboard the Teratai Prima when it was struck by Cyclone Charlotte on Sunday and sank about 50 kilometres off the coast of western Sulawesi, officials said.

The 700-tonne vessel was carrying passengers and cargo from Parepare to Samarinda on the Indonesian half of Borneo.

Three warships, airplanes and a helicopter were deployed on Monday but were hampered by driving rain, strong winds and waves, said Col. Jaka Santosa, who was heading the rescue operation.

A search operation is under way after a ferry carrying about 250 passengers and 17 crew sank in stormy seas off central Indonesia, officials say.

A transport agency spokesman said 18 people have been rescued alive, but fears are rising that scores of others will be found dead.

High seas are hampering intensified rescue efforts by navy and air force.

Recent years have seen several ferry accidents in Indonesia. More than 400 people died when a ferry sank in 2006.

The captain of the Teratai Prima, who was among those pulled alive from the sea, said that about 150 people managed to jump off before the vessel went down, the Associated Press reported.

An air and sea search for survivors from a ferry that sank off the Indonesian island of Sulawesi is continuing, despite heavy weather.

At least 34 people, including the ship's captain, have now been rescued but more than 200 are still missing.

The ferry sank on Sunday, crossing the Makassar Strait towards Kalimantan.

The transport minister has said an investigation was underway into whether the captain had clearance to leave port despite warnings about the bad weather.

With 34 people found alive, and one body, it is thought that 232 people are still missing and feared dead.

Little hope remains that more survivors will be found more than 48 hours after the ship sank in stormy weather.