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Passenger Ferry Headed For Bali Stranded By Strong Current

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A car and passenger ferry approaching Gilimanuk Harbour, Bali ran aground on Friday 27th May after the captain misjudged the strength of the current. The ferry was stranded for over 3-hours as rescue crews tried to get the ship afloat once more. 

The ship had left Ketapang Harbor in Banyuwangi, East Java, and was heading for Bali’s Gilimanuk Harbour. The ferry was carrying 30-foot passengers, 2 large lorries, 4 large trucks, 13 vans, and 3 pickup trucks.

The ferry service takes just 34-minutes across the Bali Strait in good conditions. It is one of the most affordable and efficient ways of accessing Bali from Java. The route is vital for the transportation of goods and is often used by domestic tourists heading to Bali from all across Java. 

The ferry service runs every 20-minute, 24-hours a day. The schedule was disrupted on Friday after the ferry ran aground close to the Gilimanuk Jetty. The captain of the ferry, KMP Trisakti Adinda, had executed a smooth crossing, despite weather warnings being issued across Bali last week.

Adinda had stopped the ship and was waiting for his turn to pull up to the dock. While he was waiting for his slot, the undercurrent swept northwards and dragged the ferry into shallow waters. 

The crew was alerted to the changing conditions and worked together to try and counteract the impacts of the current. Their efforts made little difference and the ship ran aground. The Jembrana Search and Rescue Crew were alerted to the situation and arrived on the scene within a matter of minutes. 

The Jembrana Search and Rescue teams deployed a Rigid Inflatable Boat (a rescue dingy) and kept the boat on standby. The Head of Jembrana SAR Post Dewa Hendri Gunawan spoke to local news reporters and confirmed that no passengers were evacuated from the ship. He described how his team was present to offer support for the captain and his crew and that they acted as surveillance to ensure that the situation did not get any worse.

In the presence of the SAR team, Captain Adinda and his crew began maneuvering the ship as best they could. They worked with the current to get the ferry free again in an operation that took a little over 3-hours. 

All passengers, crew, and vehicles arrived in Gillimanuk Harbour a little later than anticipated but safe and sound. The ferry service resumed its operations and although there were some delays over the weekend caused by Friday’s incident the ferries are running on schedule again now. 

Last week the Center for Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics in Denpasar issued weather warnings across Bali and issued a statement specifically referencing how the sea surface temperature around Bali’s coast was increasing which would result in rapid and possibly unpredictable changing conditions for boat operators. 

The changes in sea surface temperature were causing heavy rain and strong winds across Bali. On Thursday 26th May a local man’s car was crushed by a falling tree in Legian. Heavy rainfall has dislodged the roots of an old mahogany tree causing it to fall and crush Eka Martini’s car while he was at work. The damage amounts to millions of Indonesian rupiah. The weather conditions are set to settle heading into the first week of June, much to the delight of locals and inbound travelers. 

Gilliamanuk Harbour offers ferry services to Java for foot passengers and those with a vehicle. The service is mostly used by domestic travelers but is available for international travelers too. For travelers wishing to get the fast boat to Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan, the best port to set off from is Sanur. For travelers heading to the Gili Islands the most efficient route is from Padang Bai, although there are services available from Sanur. 

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