At least 23 people were killed and around 100 people rescued after a fire ripped through a boat carrying tourists to islands north of the Indonesian capital Jakarta earlier today, authorities have said.

Along with 23 fatalities, a number of people were also injured, said Ferry Budiharso, a spokesman for the Thousand Island police, the area where the boat was heading.

The head of Jakarta's search and rescue agency, Hendra Sudirman, said that 98 people had been rescued.

The passenger boat was ferrying around 200 people off the coast of Jakarta to Tidung island, a tourist destination 50km from the capital when the fire started, local disaster agency official Seply Madreta told AFP.

The boat, Zahro Express, caught fire shortly after leaving Muara Angke port in North Jakarta early this morning due to a short circuit on a power generator on the boat, Mr Budiharso said.

Officials are still trying to locate the boat's manifest to determine the number of passengers that were on board the vessel, a transport ministry official said.

Sea accidents are frequent in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago, with vessels often overloaded and having too few life jackets on boat.

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