Indonesia searches for 8 missing after ship sinks

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JAKARTA, Nov 14 (Reuters) A rescue boat was still searching for eight people missing after an Indonesian cargo ship sank off Sumatra last week, a port official said today, although hopes of finding anyone alive were slim.

Two survivors were found floating in the sea 36 hours after the ship sank during bad weather off Belitung island, said Harto, an official at Jakarta's Tanjung Priok port.

The vessel which had 10 people on board, and was carrying 30 containers, was travelling from Jakarta to Batam island in Sumatra.

''The cause of the sinking is still unclear. We don't even know the coordinates where the ship sank. The weather was bad when the accident happened,'' he said.

The safety record of Indonesian passenger ships and ferries, widely used to connect the thousands of islands in the archipelago, is poor with vessels frequently overloaded and in poor condition.

Last month 30 people were missing after a sailboat sprang a leak and sank off the island of Sulawesi.

A week before, a ferry capsized off Sulawesi, killing around 30 people and leaving many missing.

REUTERS SV RAI1027

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