Seventeen people were then rescued, some of them by two tugs which were at sea at the time of the incident.
Djunaedi said the search and rescue agency received new information about the location of the sunken ferry on Saturday and dispatched crews to the area. Two ferries and a search and rescue boat, along with local fishing boats, are involved in the search for the missing passengers.
Ferry tragedies are common in Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, where ferries are often used as transport and safety rules can become lax.
In 2018, an overcrowded ferry with around 200 people on board sank in a deep volcanic crater lake in the North Sumatra province, killing 167 people.
In one of the country’s worst recorded disasters, an overloaded passenger ship sank in February 1999 with 332 people on board. There were only 20 survivors.