Indonesian ferries have a record of poor safety, with more than four hundred perishing in the Java Sea in 2006 after a ferry capsized. The inter-island ferries that ply the Melacca Straits between Sumatra and Malaysia are often overcrowded and sent out from Dumai to Pulau Batam in poor weather. Most recently the Dumai 10 Expres sank after being battered by huge waves on 22 November 2009, which resulted in 29 deaths. The same day the Dumai Expres 15 ran aground on a neighbouring island. Further tarnishing Indonesian ferries’ safety record, in January 2011 a fire broke out on another ferry just outside the port of Merak, killing 11 people. While Indonesian ferries always carry some risk, safety may be maximized by sticking to Pelni boats and checking the weather forecast before heading out to sea.

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