Cruise Ship Fires

Cruise Ship Fires
MV Levina 1 Fire February 22, 2007

Ferry Blaze Kills 51 Passengers Jump Overboard To Survive

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MV Levina 1 Fire - February 22, 2007

Ferry Blaze Kills 51 Passengers Jump Overboard To Survive

On February 22, 2007, the Levina 1 was en route from the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, to the island of Bangka. The passenger ferry caught fire several hours after leaving port, prior to dawn, 60 nautical miles (110 km) from the start port of Tanjung Priok. Hundreds of passengers escaped the burning ship by jumping into the Java Sea. Over 290 people were rescued. At least 51 deaths were reported in the disaster, but the Indonesian Red Cross stated deaths could be as high as 89. The ship's log claimed the ship was carrying 228 passengers, 42 trucks and eight cars, but the navy claims it had over 350 passengers.

The ferry's sister ship, Levina II and the Filipino ship Princess Vanessa saved many of the passengers. The rescue efforts included two warships, three helicopters, a tug boat and nine cargo ships. As many as 60 people were able to swim to a nearby island.

Later the MV Levina 1 was towed into the Tanjung Priok on February 24, 2007. The next day four investigators and twelve journalists were taken to the ship by a police boat. The reporters came from TV stations and the radio stations in the area. Many who boarded failed to use the life vests provided even after the police made them mandatory. The ferry was under tow seven nautical miles (13 km) from the port itself. Though the ferry was listing slightly prior to boarding the party ignored warnings. The Indonesian investigative authority, the KNKT, had not given the group permission to board, but crowded on board as they saw other journalists on board. Journalists went to deck three where they interviewed the head of the city's Water Police, Adj. Sr. Comr. Frederik Kalembang. Minutes later the passenger ferry suddenly listed sharply.

Police officers monitoring the passenger ferry from a nearby boat ordered immediate evacuation via loudspeaker. Most of those on board rushed down to deck two and escaped through a window at the end of the deck. The ship sank in under five minutes. A Lativi cameraman died in hospital, two police forensics officers and a SCTV cameraman were never found. Four more people were seriously injured.

Investigations established the fire started in a truck on the car deck.

Journalists are no longer allowed to accompany investigators after these types of disasters.

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