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

People & Company News

ASA Mission Statement Revised to Expand Reach

The American Salvage Association has revised its mission statement to increase its area of influence beyond North America, complemented by a new logo that reflects the expanded direction.

New Chemical Handling Service from Ferguson Group

Tank, Fluid Solutions and Bunded Storage for Dangerous Goods and Chemicals Introduced at Gap Ridge, Karratha.    Ferguson Group Australia, global specialist in offshore DNV 2.

BP Freezes Pay in 2015 to Cut Costs

BP is freezing base pay across the group this year, the latest in a series of steps by oil majors to cut costs in response to sinking oil prices.   Over the past year,

Legal

26-year Jail Term Sought for Concordia Master

An Italian prosecutor asked a court on Monday to sentence the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise liner to more than 26 years in jail for his role in the 2012 disaster that killed 32 people.

Boost for Offshore Wind Energy

As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to create American jobs, develop domestic clean energy resources and cut carbon pollution, Secretary of the Interior

Gypsy Moth Clause Takes Balanced Approach to Risk

A new BIMCO clause provides a simple, practical and commercial solution focusing on the basic obligations and responsibilities of owners and charterers when dealing with the Asian Gypsy Moth (AGM).

Navigation

Zamakona Refits Vessels VOS HERA & HADES

The Zamakona Yards in Pasajes has successfully finished the works carried o t in the vessels VOS HADES and VOS HERA that belong to the Company Vroon Offshore Services UK.

RUMBA Sails with 'Spirit of Malabo' Onboard

A container carrying the twenty-four foot Brazilian built ocean rowboat, Spirit of Malabo, left the Port of Cap Haitian on Saturday en-route to Port Everglades

India-US “New Vision” for Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean

India and the USA on Sunday released a Joint Strategic Vision statement for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean region, marking the deepening strategic equation between the two nations.

Passenger Vessels

26-year Jail Term Sought for Concordia Master

An Italian prosecutor asked a court on Monday to sentence the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise liner to more than 26 years in jail for his role in the 2012 disaster that killed 32 people.

Fire Scare Aboard British Cruise Ship

The Boudicca, a Fred Olsen cruise liner, with more than 1,000 people on-board has been left without power off the coast of Morocco after an engine fire.  Passengers of the U.

Danish Pleasure Craft Safety Board Gets A New Head

From 1 February 2015 a new chairman will head the Danish Pleasure Craft Safety Board. The new incumbent is Jan Thorn, who is in his everyday work Director

Salvage

ASA Mission Statement Revised to Expand Reach

The American Salvage Association has revised its mission statement to increase its area of influence beyond North America, complemented by a new logo that reflects the expanded direction.

26-year Jail Term Sought for Concordia Master

An Italian prosecutor asked a court on Monday to sentence the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise liner to more than 26 years in jail for his role in the 2012 disaster that killed 32 people.

Towing Vessel Sinks off Oahu

A 95-foot towing vessel, Nalani, sank approximately two and half miles west of Barbers Point Harbor, Oahu, Thursday, the U.S. (USCG) Coast Guard reported. The 11

Casualties

26-year Jail Term Sought for Concordia Master

An Italian prosecutor asked a court on Monday to sentence the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise liner to more than 26 years in jail for his role in the 2012 disaster that killed 32 people.

Gypsy Moth Clause Takes Balanced Approach to Risk

A new BIMCO clause provides a simple, practical and commercial solution focusing on the basic obligations and responsibilities of owners and charterers when dealing with the Asian Gypsy Moth (AGM).

Tanzania's Energy Minister Resigns

Tanzania's Energy and Minerals Minister Sospeter Muhongo resigned on Saturday amid a graft scandal that has rocked the gas-rich country and led Western donors to delay aid,

Coast Guard

Training Coastguards is Key to Tackling Piracy

Training and mentoring of coastguards in Africa, Middle East and South East Asia is essential if coastal nations are to have effective control over their Territorial Waters and Economic Zones,

26-year Jail Term Sought for Concordia Master

An Italian prosecutor asked a court on Monday to sentence the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise liner to more than 26 years in jail for his role in the 2012 disaster that killed 32 people.

Coast Guard Cutter William Trump Commissioned

The Coast Guard Cutter William Trump was commissioned during a ceremony at Coast Guard Sector Key West Saturday Jan. 24, 2015. The Trump is the 11th fast response cutter in the Coast Guard fleet.

Maritime Safety

Training Coastguards is Key to Tackling Piracy

Training and mentoring of coastguards in Africa, Middle East and South East Asia is essential if coastal nations are to have effective control over their Territorial Waters and Economic Zones,

Winter Storm Closes New York/New Jersey Terminals

All marine terminals at the Port of New York and New Jersey are expected to close around 3: 30 p.m. today and remain closed all day tomorrow as a severe winter

Seagull Secures Panama Flag Approval

Seagull Maritime said it has secured training center approval from the Panama Maritime Authority, marking the first time that an overseas company has done so following

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
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: 0.2429 sec (4 req/sec)