Search Resumes in S. Korean Ferry Disaster

MarineLink.com
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
USS Bonhomme Richard LHD 6 has entered search operations (U.S. Navy photo)

Poor weather conditions may hamper effort; Mystery surrounds capsize of ship; Nearly 280 people still missing, many of them teenagers

South Korean coastguards and navy divers resumed their search on Thursday for nearly 280 people still missing after a ferry capsized in what could be the country's worst maritime disaster in over 20 years.

They will also be seeking answers to many unanswered questions surrounding Wednesday's accident, notably what caused the Sewol vessel to list and then flip over entirely, leaving only a small section of its hull above water.

Rescue efforts on Thursday could be be hampered by difficult weather conditions, however, amid forecasts of rain, strong winds and fog.

Of 462 passengers on board the ferry when it set sail from the port of Incheon late on Tuesday, 179 have been rescued and six people are known to have died.

Nearly 340 of the passengers were teenagers and teachers from the same school near the capital Seoul on a field trip to Jeju island, about 100 km (60 miles) south of the Korean peninsula.

Parents of missing children faced an agonising wait for news as they gathered in Jindo, a town close to where ferry capsized.

"My tears have dried up," said one mother, who did not give her name. "I am holding on to hope. I hope the government does everything to bring these kids back to their mothers."

At the dockside in Jindo, women sat and stared out at the black, calm sea before them, quietly sobbing.

Clues Sought
It was not immediately clear why the Sewol ferry had listed heavily on to its side and capsized in apparently calm waters off South Korea's southwest coast, but some survivors spoke of a loud noise prior to the disaster.

A member of the crew of a local government ship involved in the rescue, who said he had spoken to members of the sunken ferry's crew, described the area as free of reefs or rocks and said the cause was likely to be some sort of malfunction on the vessel.

There were reports of the ferry having veered off its course, but coordinates of the site of the accident provided by port authorities indicated it was not far off the regular shipping lane.

The ferry sent a distress signal early on Wednesday, the coastguard said, triggering a rescue operation that involved almost 100 coastguard and navy vessels and fishing boats, as well as 18 helicopters.

A U.S. navy ship was at the scene to help, the U.S. Seventh Fleet said, adding it was ready to offer more assistance.

According to a coastguard official in Jindo, the waters where the ferry capsized have some of the strongest tides of any off South Korea's coast, meaning divers were prevented from entering the mostly submerged ship for several hours.

Adding to the sense of confusion on Wednesday, the Ministry of Security and Public Administration initially reported that 368 people had been rescued and that about 100 were missing.

But it later described those figures as a miscalculation, turning what had at first appeared to be a largely successful rescue operation into potentially a major disaster.

The ship has a capacity of about 900 people, an overall length of 146 metres (480 feet) and weighs 6,586 gross tonnes. Shipping records show it was built in Japan in 1994.

According to public shipping databases, the registered owner of the ship is Chonghaejin Marine Co Ltd, based in Incheon. Reuters was unable to reach the company by phone.

Earlier, company officials offered an apology over the accident but declined to comment further.

The databases showed that Chonghaejin Marine Co Ltd became the owner of the vessel in October, 2012.

(By Narae Kim; Additional reporting by Jack Kim, Ju-Min Park, Choonsik Yoo, Meeyoung Cho and James Pearson in SEOUL and Jonathan Saul in LONDON; Writing by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Andrew Roche)

Maritime Reporter July 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Navy

Darwin, Australia Scene of KAKADU Exercise Planning

Over 1,200 military personnel from the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean regions have completed collaborative, tactical warfare planning during the first week of the

Navy Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Delivery Milestone

Commander, Submarine Development Squadron 5 (CSDS 5), Detachment UUV, informs of the delivery of Large Training Vehicle 38 (LTV 38), an unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV),

HMS Illustrious Decommissioned

HMS Illustrious – the last of the Royal Navy’s Invincible-class aircraft carriers – was decommissioned at Portsmouth Naval Base today, marking the end of her 32-year career.

Environmental

BMT WBM to Showcase TUFLOW at World Bank Seminar

BMT WBM ( (BMT), a subsidiary of BMT Group Ltd, a leading international engineering and risk management consultancy, is delighted to announce that it will be presenting

Long Beach Cargo Operations Resume

Repair work begins after storm surges subsides The Port of Long Beach resumed full cargo-handling operations Thursday, Aug. 28, after a lessening of storm surges

Restoring the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary

Significant challenges often require a team effort. Restoring the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary is one of them. A group of professionals from the Army Corps of Engineers,

Salvage

Ferry Runs Aground in Lynn Harbor

Ferry Cetacea ran aground about a quarter of a mile from the pier in Lynn Harbor, Massachusetts yesterday, with 13 passengers and four crew aboard, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) reported.

Coast Guard Responds to Capsized Tug in Chicago

The Coast Guard is responding to the capsizing of a tug on the Calumet River near the 106th St. Bridge in Chicago in which two crew members were able to escape and swim to shore.

Crippled Pine Galaxy Arrives in San Francisco

The disabled mixed-products tanker Pine Galaxy arrived in San Francisco for repairs Wednesday. Commercial tugs towed the ship safety into the Port of San Francisco

News

BMT WBM to Showcase TUFLOW at World Bank Seminar

BMT WBM ( (BMT), a subsidiary of BMT Group Ltd, a leading international engineering and risk management consultancy, is delighted to announce that it will be presenting

Rosneft and AVTOVAZ Strengthen Strategic Cooperation

Rosneft President, Chairman of the Management Board Igor Sechin and AVTOVAZ President Bo Inge Andersson signed an Agreement of development of strategic cooperation,

RWE Dea Helps Cleveland Juniors Reach Goals

Yesterday, a new club house for the Cleveland Juniors Football Club in Middlesbrough in northern England was officially opened. With support from RWE Dea, the

Coast Guard

USCG Recognizes Meritorious Bulkship Rescue Team

Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, Federal, State, County and several members of the maritime community have received a Coast Guard Meritorious Team Commendation

Ferry Runs Aground in Lynn Harbor

Ferry Cetacea ran aground about a quarter of a mile from the pier in Lynn Harbor, Massachusetts yesterday, with 13 passengers and four crew aboard, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) reported.

Coast Guard Responds to Capsized Tug in Chicago

The Coast Guard is responding to the capsizing of a tug on the Calumet River near the 106th St. Bridge in Chicago in which two crew members were able to escape and swim to shore.

Eye on the Navy

HMS Illustrious Decommissioned

HMS Illustrious – the last of the Royal Navy’s Invincible-class aircraft carriers – was decommissioned at Portsmouth Naval Base today, marking the end of her 32-year career.

HMS Prince of Wales Hull Departs for Rosyth

A huge section of hull for HMS Prince of Wales, the second Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier, has today begun its delivery voyage from HM Naval Base Portsmouth

USCG Small Boat Fires Warning Shot at Iranian Vessel

A U.S. Coast Guard boat operating in international waters in the Arabian Gulf fired on an Iranian dhow in what U.S. military officials described as a defensive

Ferries

Ferry Runs Aground in Lynn Harbor

Ferry Cetacea ran aground about a quarter of a mile from the pier in Lynn Harbor, Massachusetts yesterday, with 13 passengers and four crew aboard, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) reported.

Federal Officials Approve Plans to Replace Mukilteo Terminal

The 60-year-old Mukilteo Ferry Terminal is one step closer to replacement. On Friday, Aug. 22 the Federal Transit Administration signed a record of decision allowing

New Double-ended Ferry for Norderney

New double-ended ferry serving the North Sea island of Norderney – Safe and eco-friendly maneuvering in shallow, high-sediment water using Voith Schneider Propellers Ferries

 
 
Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | 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: 0.1908 sec (5 req/sec)