People crowd along a dock as rescue efforts prepare to head out to search for 17 fishermen who went missing after two boats collided the night before in waters off Indramayu, West Java province yesterday.-AFP

JAKARTA: Rescuers were searching for 17 missing fishermen after two boats collided in waters off Indonesia’s West Java province, officials said yesterday. A fishing ship hit a larger cargo vessel on Saturday evening off Indramayu regency, flipping the wooden boat’s 32 crew members into the water, said Bandung rescue agency spokeswoman Seni Wulandari.

“Some 15 survivors have been evacuated to the cargo vessel but the team is still searching for 17 other crew who went missing,” Wulandari told AFP yesterday. Those rescued sustained minor injuries from the accident and would be taken to a nearby hospital, she added.

The Habco Pioneer cargo vessel was sailing through the port of Merak from the Indonesian island of Borneo when it was hit by a local fishing boat in Indramayu waters, said Wulandari. Boat accidents are common in Indonesia, a Southeast Asian archipelago of around 17,000 islands, due to lax safety standards. In January last year, 10 people went missing after a boat carrying 20 migrant workers to neighboring Malaysia capsized off the coast of Sumatra island. – AFP