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Korean Ferry Disaster

Korean Ferry Disaster25 posts

The South Korean passenger ferry MV Sewol capsized while en route from Incheon to Jeju City. It carried 3608 tonnes (3977 US tons) of cargo (three times the legal limit) and reportedly had 476 people on board, mostly students from Danwon High School in Ansan City, although the actual number of passengers is uncertain. Hundreds died in the sinking, which has been blamed primarily on a sudden turn which shifted the cargo and made the ship unmanageable. The disaster also has led to widespread criticism of the captain and most of the crew, as well as of the company that owns the ferry, regulatory agencies that certified the ship as safe, and the government for its slow response.

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27 Oct, 2014

Prosecutors ask for death penalty


South Korean prosecutors seek the death penalty for Joon-Seok, captain of the ferry that sank earlier this year. Prosecutors blame Joon-Seok’s negligence for the death of over 300 people in the disaster. Prosecutors:

The captain made no rescue efforts after issuing a broadcast asking passengers to stay in their cabins. … He didn’t organize any rescue operations after leaving the ship.

17 Aug, 2014

Victim’s father baptised


The Pope baptises 62-year-old Lee Ho-Jin, the father of one of the victims from the Sewol Ferry tragedy, at Seoul Nunciature 0n Sunday.  He meets with some of the family members from the ferry tragedy before Mass with thousands of Koreans at the World Cup stadium in Daejon. Last week Lee had completed a pilgrimage from the site of the ferry disaster to Daejeon, to help overcome the grief of losing his son. Vatican spokesperson:

The pope was only too happy to be able to conduct an unscheduled baptism of an adult into the Korean Church

9 Jul, 2014

Ferry was operating illegally

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The MV Sewol was operating illegally when it capsized in April, 2014, killing 300 people.  A report by state officials says the operating license was obtained by presenting fraudulent safety papers, although exactly how officials were deceived is not being disclosed.  The owners and crew of the Sewol are facing charges for negligent actions  that facilitated the sinking of the ferry and failed to prevent the death of most of those on the ferry. Lee Joon-seok, the captain of the Sewol, has been charged with murder for fleeing the sinking vessel.

26 Jun, 2014

Prime Minister stays

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South Korea’s president has decided to retain the country’s current prime minister, Chung Hong.  Hong had offered to step down as Prime Minister, the number two spot in the country’s government, in an attempt to quell the anger of the country’s citizens after the ferry disaster.  An attempt to replace Hong was made by President Park Geun-hye, but the two possible candidates withdrew their names.  The main liberal opposition party is criticizing President Park’s decision and calling it an acknowledgement of the government’s incompetence.

20 Apr, 2014

Panic on the bridge


Transcripts, released by the coast guard, show the ferry’s crew panicking during their last communications with controllers at Jindo Vessel Traffic Services Centre.

Excerpt, recorded 29 minutes after the Sewol’s  first distress call:

Controller: “Please go out and let the passengers wear life jackets and put on more clothing.”

Crew member: “If this ferry evacuates passengers, will you be able to rescue them?”

Controller: “At least make them wear life rings and make them escape.”

Crew member: “If this ferry evacuates passengers, will they be rescued right away?”

Controller: “Don’t let them go bare. At least make them wear life rings and make them escape… We don’t know the situation very well. The captain should make the final decision and decide whether you’re going to evacuate passengers or not.”

Crew member: “I’m not talking about that. I asked, if they evacuate now, can they be rescued right away?”

Only a few seconds before the final communication did it become clear to controllers that an evacuation of the ferry had been ordered.