On September 28, 2011, eight people died on an overloaded ferry, before it departed to the island of Kalimantan, from the island of Java. The cause of the 8 deaths, and many injuries, was due to a stampede that occurred when a fire broke out.

Ferries are a major form of transportation between the many islands of Indonesia. Many of these ferries are overloaded with passengers and have few have sufficient life-jackets and safety equipment. It is not uncommon to hear of these ferries catching on fire or sinking, with the loss of lives.

Typical wooden speedboat on Jambi rivers: They can hold around 30 people below, and however many can pile on top. On 2 speedboats we have ridden we saw one (1) life-jacket for all passengers.

On Saturday, October 1, 2011, one ferry from the Jambi City of Kualatungkal, on its way to the island of Batam, ran aground. Fortunately all passengers were evacuated safely via 4 other boats. When interviewed, the ship’s captain said they daily travel between these two locations and there was no malfunction of navigation equipment. He indicated that previous to the journey he suspected danger of a supernatural sort, and the reason for the accident was due to a haunted island they recently passed.

We have traveled on old wooden ferries and speedboats between islands (that had insufficient life-jackets). All travelers need to count the cost before they use one of the lower cost ferries. The more expensive ones usually come with sufficient safety equipment.