Grieving South Korea Seeks Arrest of Ferry Owners

Joseph Keefe
Thursday, May 08, 2014

South Korean prosecutors are seeking the arrest of members of the family that owns the operator of a ferry that sank last month killing hundreds of school children, an avoidable tragedy that rocked the country to the core.

Prosecutors may also seek the extradition of a son of the reclusive head of the family from the United States, an official said on Thursday.

The Sewol, overloaded and travelling too fast on a turn, capsized and sank on a routine journey from Incheon on the mainland to the southern holiday island of Jeju.

Of the 476 passengers and crew on board, 339 were children and teachers on a high school outing. Only 172 people have been rescued and the remainder are all presumed to have drowned.

Some of the crew, the captain caught on videotape in his underwear, abandoned ship as the children were told time and time again to stay put in their cabins.

They paid for their obedience with their lives.

Heartbreaking video shows them playing around as the ship started listing, joking about the sinking of the Titanic, when they had plenty of time to jump overboard.

But only two of the vessel's 46 lifeboats were deployed.

The prosecutors' pursuit of a son and a daughter of Yoo Byung-un, the head of the family that owns Chonghaejin Marine, the ferry operator, broadens the criminal investigation into the tragedy. The government has also started the process of stripping the company of the licence to operate ferries.

But it was not clear whether Yoo Byung-un himself, who ran the defunct commercial empire that was the precursor to the sprawling business interests that include Chonghaejin, might be called in for questioning.

Yoo's son, Hyuck-ki, who is believed to be in the United States, has failed three times to respond to a prosecution summons, an official said. Other close aides to Yoo are also believed to be abroad and have ignored summons.

"Since it is an important issue that has drawn public attention, we will do our best for their attendance and forcible extradition" said Kim Hoe-jong, second deputy chief prosecutor at Incheon District Prosecution Service.

Prosecutors arrested several officials of the ferry operator and its affiliates, including Chonghaejin's chief executive, on charges of negligence causing death and the sinking of a vessel on Thursday.

All 15 of the surviving crew members, including the 69-year-old captain, have been arrested and face charges of gross negligence amid accusations they abandoned the vessel without performing emergency escape procedures.

Yoo's two sons, Yoo Hyuck-ki and Yoo Dae-kyun, are majority owners of Chonghaejin Marine through an investment vehicle.

The prosecution is working with FBI and Homeland Security in the United States for possible extradition of Yoo Hyuck-ki, Kim, the prosecutor, said.

Prosecutors have also raided the shipping company's offices and financial regulators are investigating borrowings of the company and of businesses that are part of a wider holding firm.

Lawyer Son Byoung-gi, who has spoken for the family previously, did not immediately comment.

South Korea, Asia's fourth-largest economy and one of its leading manufacturing and export powerhouses, has developed into one of the world's most technically advanced countries, but faces criticism that regulatory controls have not kept pace.

Nearly 450,000 people have paid tribute to the victims at the altar set up near the school many of the children attended.

But the number of grieving family members keeping vigil in Jindo, where the search operation is centred, has dwindled with now just 35 of the 476 passengers still missing.

 

By Ju-min Park

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

People & Company News

Coast Guard Foundation to Honor USCG in Miami

The Coast Guard Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to the education and welfare of all Coast Guard members and their families, announced today that

Maritime Broadband Opens Office in Greece

Maritime Broadband has expanded its worldwide footprint by opening an office, Maritime Broadband Hellas, in Athens, Greece. The new office addresses the growing

Renewable Energy: Schottel Tidal Turbines Ready For Use

In the last months Schottel  successfully tested its hydrokinetic turbines in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland. The full-scale tests included 260 operating hours under realistic conditions.

Navigation

Sunken Barge Salvage Stops Traffic on Chicago River

The U.S. Coast Guard said it is restricting vessel traffic on the Chicago River to allow for salvage of a sunken barge. All cargo has been removed from the sunken

Maritime Reporter @ 75: The Daily Cartoon

Maritime Reporter & Engineering News was founded by John J. O'Malley (1905-1980) in 1939, and today ranks as the world's largest audited trade publication in the world serving the maritime industry,

Long Beach Port Honors OOCL Executive

Andrew Tung, CEO and Managing Director of Orient Overseas Container Line, was presented today with the prestigious “Port Pilot Award” by the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners.

Passenger Vessels

Catamaran Passenger Ferries Delivered in Angola

Incat Crowther announced the delivery a pair of 30m catamaran passenger ferries, Macôco and Panguila, to Instituto Marítimo e Portuário de Angola. The vessels, built by Astilleros Armon in Spain,

Cruise Ship Returns to Texas after Ebola Concern

The Carnival Magic cruise ship was en route back to the United States on Saturday with a passenger from Texas who might have handled specimens of the first Ebola

Obama Appoints Ebola 'Czar'; Texas Health Worker Isolated on Ship

President Barack Obama appointed a former White House adviser as U.S. Ebola "czar" on Friday as the global death toll from the disease that has hit mostly three

Salvage

Sunken Barge Salvage Stops Traffic on Chicago River

The U.S. Coast Guard said it is restricting vessel traffic on the Chicago River to allow for salvage of a sunken barge. All cargo has been removed from the sunken

WWII Wrecks Found off North Carolina

German U-boat 576 and freighter Bluefields found within 240 yards A team of researchers led by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries have discovered two

Capsized Boats Leave Mile-long Sheen in Mobile

Vessels were being urged to travel carefully through the Mobile shipping channel on Tuesday after two boats containing 2,000 gallons of oil capsized the previous night,

Casualties

Total CEO Killed in Moscow Runway Accident

Private jet collided with snow plow during takeoff; Total's CEO a defender of Moscow policies. Insiders Boisseau and Pouyanne long seen as potential successors.

USCG Reopens Port Allen Post Hurricane Ana

The Coast Guard Captain of the Port reopened Port Allen in Kauai Monday morning after surveying crews deemed it  safe for transit. The maritime public is advised

Key to Somalia's Recovery

Piracy, terrorism and criminal activities originating in Somalia can only be addressed by creating a climate of security, engagement and empowerment that will encourage home grown businesses,

Coast Guard

Coast Guard Foundation to Honor USCG in Miami

The Coast Guard Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to the education and welfare of all Coast Guard members and their families, announced today that

Sunken Barge Salvage Stops Traffic on Chicago River

The U.S. Coast Guard said it is restricting vessel traffic on the Chicago River to allow for salvage of a sunken barge. All cargo has been removed from the sunken

USCG Reopens Port Allen Post Hurricane Ana

The Coast Guard Captain of the Port reopened Port Allen in Kauai Monday morning after surveying crews deemed it  safe for transit. The maritime public is advised

Maritime Safety

Sunken Barge Salvage Stops Traffic on Chicago River

The U.S. Coast Guard said it is restricting vessel traffic on the Chicago River to allow for salvage of a sunken barge. All cargo has been removed from the sunken

USCG Reopens Port Allen Post Hurricane Ana

The Coast Guard Captain of the Port reopened Port Allen in Kauai Monday morning after surveying crews deemed it  safe for transit. The maritime public is advised

Mitsubishi Super Skiving System

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has completed development of the "Mitsubishi Super Skiving System" for machining internal gears with high speed and outstanding precision.

Government Update

Continership Alliance Expands to US Trades

The CKYHE Alliance (COSCO, "K" LINE, Yang Ming, Hanjin Shipping, and Evergreen Line) has announced they will expand their cooperation scope to U.S. Trades and CKYHE

Total CEO Killed in Moscow Runway Accident

Private jet collided with snow plow during takeoff; Total's CEO a defender of Moscow policies. Insiders Boisseau and Pouyanne long seen as potential successors.

India to Develop Iran's Chabahar Port

India will float a company to develop Iran's Chabahar Port, a government statement said on Saturday, as New Delhi aims to take advantage of a thaw in Tehran's relations with world powers.

 
 
Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators 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: 0.2876 sec (3 req/sec)