Ship's captain detained after Indonesia ferry fire kills 23

Rescuers search the charred passenger boat which was ferrying around 200 people off the coast of Jakarta to Tidung island, a tourist destination close to the capital when a fire started on January 1, 2017.

Story highlights

  • At least 23 died when the ferry caught fire Sunday morning local time
  • Captain questioned over reports he abandoned ship

(CNN)Police have detained the captain of a ferry that caught fire off the coast of Indonesia's capital, killing at least 23 people, amid allegations he was the first to jump ship.

Divers are still searching for 17 people still missing from Sunday's fire.
    "We have detained the captain of the boat, and are now taking his statement," Jakarta's maritime police director, Hero Hendrianto Bachtiar, told CNN Indonesia.
    He said that three crew members and two port authority staff were in police custody.
    At a press conference, Antonius Tonny Budiono, director general for sea transportation at the Indonesian ministry of transport, addressed reports that the captain was the first to leap off the Zahro Express ferry when it caught fire.
    "A captain who abandons ship first is no captain at all," he said, according to CNN Indonesia. "A captain's obligation is to be the last person off the ship, after all the passengers have been evacuated."
    He said that the captain would face severe sanctions, including the revocation of his sailing permit.