Rescue teams were searching for six missing people in Indonesia’s 1,143-kilometer Kapuas River on Wednesday after a ferry sank, killing at least 12 people. Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) said that of the 70 people believed to have been aboard the likely overcrowded vessel, 52 had survived. Ferry passengers were headed to visit relatives for the Muslim holiday of Eid when it sank in Indonesia’s longest river. Three crew members, including the ferry's owner, have been detained for questioning.
I sometimes wonder whether there is some malign force deep in the mechanisms of the European Union that hates ferries, and gets up in the morning wondering what else can be done to harm them. It would be easy to explain if they were chiefly British ferries, or those serving these islands which were being harmed. That would be less than subtle punishment for the UK’s semi-detached and currently hostile Europeanism. But all ferries, from the Baltic to the Aegean, seem to bring out the worst in the European regulator.
It has been going on for years. It manifested itself in the phasing out of duty free allowances, which, at a stroke, removed about one third of the ferry operators’ earning capacity. One doesn’t wish to revisit historic battlefields, but it still seems to be a move that was both unnecessary and intentionally harmful.