DENPASAR, INDONESIA (AFP) – At least six people died and several more are missing after a passenger ferry sank off the coast of Bali, Indonesian authorities said on Tuesday (June 29), in the latest maritime accident to hit the archipelago.

The KMP Yunicee had 53 passengers and crew aboard on a trip from East Java to the holiday island when the accident happened as the ferry tried to dock, authorities said.

Some 44 people were rescued as the vessel sank while another six died in the accident, with three more missing, they said.

The cause of the accident was not immediately clear.

“At the moment we are focusing on rescue and evacuation – that’s our main priority,” transport ministry spokesman Adita Irawati told broadcaster Metro TV.

Marine accidents are common in Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, where many use ferries and other boats to travel despite poor safety standards.

In 2019, 21 people died when an overloaded ferry sank in rough seas off Java’s north coast.

A year earlier, about 160 people drowned when a ferry sank into the depths of one of the world’s deepest lakes on Sumatra island.

And more than 300 people are estimated to have drowned in 2009 when a ferry sank between Sulawesi and Borneo.

Rescuers carry an injured passanger as they arrive at a port in Banyuwangi, East Java, following the accident in Bali’s Gilimanuk port. PHOTO: EPA-EFE