Search resumes for missing in S. Korean ferry disaster

Posted by Joseph R. Fonseca
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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 Japanin 1994.

According to public shipping databases, the registered owner of the ship isChonghaejin 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. (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

News

Brazil Presidential Candidate Silva Moots Price on Carbon

Brazilian presidential candidate Marina Silva plans to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions and implement a national carbon market if elected, according to policy proposals released on Friday.

SBM Offshore Completes Real Estate Divestment

SBM Offshore is pleased to announce that is has completed the sale and lease back of its Monaco real estate portfolio.  The last of the three buildings was sold

Kalmar to Supply 4 RTGs to Super Terminais, Brazil

Kalmar, part of Cargotec, will deliver four E-One2 Zero Emission rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTGs) to Super Terminais in Manaus, Brazil. The 8 million USD order

Coast Guard

USCG Repatriates 86 Migrants

Coast Guard crews aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr. and the Coast Guard Cutter Valiant repatriated 86 migrants illegally migrating from Cuba and Haiti.

East and South China Sea Disputes Need Creative Diplomacy

China and the United States appear headed for a damaging confrontation over the extent of China's territorial claims in the South and East China Seas. Now that

MN 100: Kvichak Marine Industries, Inc.

469 NW Bowdoin Place Seattle, WA 98107 Telephone: 206 545 8485 E-mail: sales@kvichak.com Website: www.kvichak.com CEO/President: Keith Whittemore Number of

Maritime Safety

USCG Repatriates 86 Migrants

Coast Guard crews aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr. and the Coast Guard Cutter Valiant repatriated 86 migrants illegally migrating from Cuba and Haiti.

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

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.

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

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pod Propulsion Port Authority 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: 0.1595 sec (6 req/sec)