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Ship Sinks in Indonesian Waters

February 10, 1999

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ A ship carrying passengers and timber sank in waters sank off the coast of Indonesia, and as many as 313 people are missing, news reports said Wednesday.

The newspaper Kompas said the Harta Rimba, with 325 passengers and seven crew, took on water in bad weather and sank on Sunday night off Tambelan Island, about 500 miles north of Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital.

It said nine people were rescued on Monday. Another 10 were picked up on Tuesday.

Rescue efforts were still being conducted on Wednesday.

The newspaper quoted one of the ship’s surviving officers, identified by the single name of Arie, as saying the ship had been sailing through heavy rain.

The ship’s captain Soedarso, who was also rescued and hospitalized, said it took on water after two pumps broke down several hours after departing from Kuala Sumbas on the west coast of Borneo for Pekanbaru on Sumatra.

He said he distributed 200 jackets to those on board. Others were told to cling to floating blocks of wood.

Indonesia’s is made up of more than 13,000 islands and relies heavily of sea transport. However, passengers and cargo vessels are often poorly maintained and overloaded.

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