Korea Ferry Disaster Points Up Cronyism

Posted by George Backwell
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Image credit S. Korean CG Video

A culture of cosy personal ties that can blur the lines between businesses and those regulating them, of profit over safety, and soft courts is in focus as South Korea demands answers over the sinking of a ferry with the loss of more than 300 lives, mainly high school students.

Prosecutors are investigating two shipping trade organisations responsible for vessel safety checks and for certifying ships that operate in domestic waters.

Two officials at the Korea Shipping Association (KSA) have been arrested on charges of obstructing justice for destroying documents related to a probe into lobbying government officials. A third official was arrested for alleged influence peddling and embezzlement. Prosecutors are also investigating Korean Register (KR), which tests and certifies ships.

Trade groups wield enormous power in South Korea's shipping industry - and in other sectors, too - as lobby groups and as business interests that can outsource inspection contracts to smaller companies, said an official at a shipbuilding company.

"Korean Register has so many officials who come from the Maritime Ministry," said the official, who is based in the port city of Mokpo and who did not want to be named due to the issue's sensitivity and the ongoing criminal investigations.

"There are many interests that co-exist and business has been done to protect each other for so many years, you have to wonder if something like inspections can be done right."

The KSA is responsible for routine shipping inspections, such as the loading of cargo and safety gear intended for use by passengers. The body, which is paid for by passenger and cargo ship operators, also represents shipping companies.

Prosecutors investigating the ferry crew members - 15 of whom are charged with negligence related to the April 16 sinking of the 6,800-tonne Sewol - said they had testified to having received no formal training on emergency evacuation.

Since the KSA was founded, 10 of its 12 chairmen were former officials at the Maritime Ministry, as were eight of the dozen Korean Register chiefs since 1960.

(By Jack Kim and Ju-min Park; additional reporting by Kahyun Yang and Sohee Kim; editing by Ian Geoghegan)

 

Maritime Reporter April 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Golden Ocean Reshuffles Fleet, Delays Newbuilds

Golden Ocean Group Limited has entered into several agreements concerning its fleet. Golden Ocean has agreed with Ship Finance International Ltd ("Ship Finance")

Royal IHC Congratulates the King in a Special Way

  Royal IHC is very honored to be part of the program on the King’s Birthday. Among other activities, the King and his family will be viewing a ‘Grande

USCG Refloat Grounded Bulker on St. Marys River

The grounded 603-foot Canadian bulk carrier Mississagi was successfully refloated on the St. Marys River following operations to offload approximately 2,000 tons of stone, Saturday.

Legal

Golden Ocean Reshuffles Fleet, Delays Newbuilds

Golden Ocean Group Limited has entered into several agreements concerning its fleet. Golden Ocean has agreed with Ship Finance International Ltd ("Ship Finance")

Royal IHC Congratulates the King in a Special Way

  Royal IHC is very honored to be part of the program on the King’s Birthday. Among other activities, the King and his family will be viewing a ‘Grande

5th Floating Accommodation for Lerwick

A further accommodation ship, Ocean Atlantic, is due at Lerwick on Monday 27 April 2015 and is on its way from Portland in Dorset. As with the other floating accommodation at the port,

Casualties

USCG Refloat Grounded Bulker on St. Marys River

The grounded 603-foot Canadian bulk carrier Mississagi was successfully refloated on the St. Marys River following operations to offload approximately 2,000 tons of stone, Saturday.

Two Rescued from Sinking Shrimp Boat

Two fishermen were rescued from their sinking shrimp boat by a U.S. Coast Guard aircrew Friday off the coast of Saint Simons Island near Brunswic, Georgia.   Watchstanders

Judge Orders Migrant Boat to Remain in Custody

An Italian judge on Friday ordered that the presumed captain of a migrant boat that sank with the loss of more than 700 lives should remain in custody after prosecutors

Maritime Safety

USCG Refloat Grounded Bulker on St. Marys River

The grounded 603-foot Canadian bulk carrier Mississagi was successfully refloated on the St. Marys River following operations to offload approximately 2,000 tons of stone, Saturday.

BIMCO Welcomes EU Decision on Migrants

BIMCO has stated today that it appreciates the new efforts by EU leaders to reduce increasing reliance on merchant shipping to rescue the growing numbers of

Two Rescued from Sinking Shrimp Boat

Two fishermen were rescued from their sinking shrimp boat by a U.S. Coast Guard aircrew Friday off the coast of Saint Simons Island near Brunswic, Georgia.   Watchstanders

Ferries

Venezuela Probes ex-minister accused of corruption in Ferry Deals

A former minister in President Nicolas Maduro's government denied in an interview published on Friday accusations of corruption during the purchase of three

IMO: Making Ferries Safer

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) domestic ferry safety conference in Manila April 24 has adopted guidelines to aid the process of reducing the mounting

Spanish Ferry Operator Enrolls in Carbon Credits Program

Spanish ferry operator Baleària has signed up to AkzoNobel’s carbon credits program. The company has enrolled its passenger ferry Martin i Soler into the scheme,

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Port Authority Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.3409 sec (3 req/sec)