efe_epaBangkok Desk

At least 23 people died on Sunday and 17 others were reported missing after a fire broke out on a passenger boat carrying more than 200 people from Jakarta to islands north of the Indonesian capital.

Rescue teams have saved 194 people from the fire, some with severe burns, local media outlets reported, citing data from the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management.

The Zahro Express vessel was carrying more than 200 people, including passengers and crew, when it caught fire before 9 am local time (2 am GMT) while en route to Tidung Island.

Preliminary investigations suggest the fire may have started when sparks produced by the machinery came into contact with fuel.

Dozens of people are killed every year in Indonesia in shipwrecks caused by bad weather, poor infrastructure and failures to comply with safety regulations, such as overloading passengers or cargo.