13 Jan 2009

Hopes fade for ferry passengers

9:09 am on 13 January 2009

Hopes are fading for about 250 passengers missing after a ferry sank in high seas off central Indonesia just before dawn on Sunday.

Only 22 have been rescued and Transport Minister Jusman Syafii Djamal said he was not optimistic of finding more survivors.

The Teratai Prima ferry was making an overnight journey from Pare Pare in South Sulawesi to Samarinda in East Kalimantan when high waves flipped the vessel over.

The BBC reports Indonesia relies heavily on ferry services to connect the main islands in the archipelago, but accidents are common.

More than 400 people died when a ferry sank between Borneo and Java in December 2006. Another 200 died when a ferry ferry sank off eastern Indonesia in 2005.