On February 28, the 63 meter long, 1534 dwt cargo vessel Michael Putra caught fire in the Java Sea off Bangka Belitung Islands, Indonesia. The Michael Putra was headed for Bintan Island with general cargo along with 17 vehicles and 36 motorbikes when a fire started in the cargo hold. The crew attempted to extinguish the blaze, but as they fought the fire there was an explosion. The master ordered the crew to abandon ship into the vessel’s liferaft. The survivors were rescued 2 hours later by passing fishermen. The fishermen rescued all 16 crew and 2 passengers on board. No reports of injuries.
Crewmen reported hearing several explosions from the cargo deck of the Michael Putra while waiting to be rescued. Authorities state the Michael Putra was last reported as still burning and adrift. Salvage may be an option if the fire can be extinguished on the Michael Putra. The general cargo and vehicles on board are a total loss.