At 0540 local time on Wednesday 26 September 2012, the Indonesian ferry, KMP Bahuga Jaya, sank after colliding with the I.M. Skaugen-owned LPG/Chemical carrier, Norgas Cathinka. 7 passengers and 1 crew member died on board the Bahuga Jaya when the vessel sank.
Investigations have concluded that she likely sank due to a loss of stability and a general state of poor material condition of the vessel. The Bahuga Jaya was 40 years old and “evidently not maintained for its trade” according to Skaugen.
According to a note to reporters, I.M. Skaugen has drawn a number of conclusions about the incident.
“The loss of lives was also caused by the lack of proper procedures on the ferry to evacuate passengers in an emergency and with inadequate lifesaving procedures and equipment. The available data from the VDR data (Black Box) on our ship makes it possible to reconstruct the events leading to the collision. From this it is evident that our vessel is not the vessel that caused the collision.”
‘This accident was the worst accident, involving loss of lives, for our company since a tragic sinking by a ship and by enemy torpedoes during Second World War,” notes Skaugen. “We do sincerely regret the loss of lives and we do consider it an avoidable accident that should not have happened and we do much regret the part we played in it.”
After 6 months of detention, the Norgas Cathinka and her crew were released by Indonesian authorities recently and arrived safely at the entrance of Singapore yesterday. Two crewmenbers still remain however, pending completion of a trial with regard to their role in the events leading to the collision and the loss of lives.
I.M. Skaugen continues to work closely with Indonesian authorities to ensure an open and transparent process with fair and impartial investigations into this incident. A draft report of the incident has been produced by the National Safety Transportation Committee of Indonesia (NTSC) and according to Skaugen, the draft has “the appearance of being balanced and factual and gives clear recommendations on the core issue resulting in the collision. The report does not, as of yet and in our view, cover sufficiently the reasons leading to the sinking of the ferry and the loss of lives “
I spoke with Bente FlÃ¸, I.M. Skaugen’s Chief Financial Officer this evening and she reaffirms that they remain 100% focused on their efforts to get their colleagues released from Indonesian detention.