Mr Abdul Alim was among the passengers on the ferry on Sunday night that sprung a leak after hitting something in the sea while on its way to Singapore.
The 25-year-old marine engineer said he put his experience to the test and took charge of the situation.
He was one of two men who rushed to help bail water out of the vessel and tried to get the faulty water pump in the engine room working again.
"I immediately thought to help however I could. I realised the crew members didn't know how to manage what was going on," he said.
"They looked a bit shocked and perhaps they weren't fully equipped with the skills to deal with emergencies like that."
Although the crew members told him they were doing fine handling the situation, he knew he had to step in.
And since the crew members could speak only in Bahasa Indonesia, Mr Alim said he became an interpreter for the crew members and some of the passengers.
"I was running around the ferry, doing what I could. I helped lower passengers into the life rafts and ensured that everyone had their life vests on," he said.
Mr Alim also tried to calm passengers and gave them instructions such as to stand in a straight line down the middle of the ferry to maintain balance.
This article was first published on December 1, 2015.
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