Rescuers continue to look for the captain of a ship carrying 37,360 subsidized 3-kilogram liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) canisters after the landing craft cargo vessel sunk Friday evening in Somber River in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan.
Adj. Comr. Budiono, Balikpapan Police law enforcement unit chief, said the search began near where the ship sank, near Kampung Baru, and continued downstream.
"Personnel from the local Basarnas [National Search and Rescue Agency], the local BPBD [Disaster Mitigation Agency] and the police are still looking for the victim," Budiono said Saturday.
After taking on cargo at the port run by distribution firm PT Dian Yusva LPG, the ship - the Daniel 8019 - had just begun its two-day journey to Tarakan, North Kalimantan, when it sank at around 8.30 p.m. on Friday only 200 meters from the port.
The ship, owned by PT Bisma Jaya, is suspected to have entered shallow waters.
Witnesses said that the ship had continued to move forward, causing the ship to turn over on its left side and spill all its cargo into the river.
"The captain seems to have ordered his crew to move the ship forward. It then listed to the left before sinking," said Agus, an eyewitness working near the port when the incident happened.
Basarnas Balikpapan operations chief Mujiono said the captain had reportedly still in the engine room as the ship tilted over.
"There are eyewitnesses who say the ship was already listing to the left when it left port. We are still investigating the exact cause of the incident," Mujiono said as quoted by kompas.com.
The ship's crew, identified as Adrian, Zaenal, Bustani, Siswanto, Mulyadi and Jublin, were injured in the incident and have received treatment at the Kampung Baru health centre.
Separately, the Balikpapan Marketing Operations Division of the state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina is sending 10,000 3-kg LPG canisters to replace the sunken shipment.
"The replacement ship will depart on Sunday morning," Pertamina's local spokesperson Andar Titi Lestari said on Saturday, adding that there were currently around 6,000 subsidized LPG canisters in distribution in Tarakan.