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 Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter June 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

“Twiggy” Baker Wins BWT Puerto Escondido Challenge

Grant “Twiggy” Baker (ZAF) claimed victory today at the Puerto Escondido Challenge, besting a field of 24 of the world’s best big wave surfers in towering 20-to-35

Winners of International Seafarers' Welfare Awards

The winners of ISWAN's International Seafarers' Welfare Awards 2016 were announced on 24th June at a high-profile ceremony held in Manila, the Philippines. The

Maritime Needs More Women Power

United Nations  International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary- General Ki Tack Lim pushed for the increased involvement of women in the seafaring industry

Legal

Winners of International Seafarers' Welfare Awards

The winners of ISWAN's International Seafarers' Welfare Awards 2016 were announced on 24th June at a high-profile ceremony held in Manila, the Philippines. The

Traffic Separation Schemes off Western Australia

On 1 December 2016 two new Traffic Separation Schemes (TSS) will come into effect off the south-west coast of Western Australia. Australia’s proposal to establish

Berthing Policy for Dry Bulk Cargo for Indian Ports Unveiled

Ministry of Shipping has formulated a new Berthing Policy for Dry Bulk Cargo for all Major Ports which will come into effect from 20th August, 2016. The objective

Navigation

Traffic Separation Schemes off Western Australia

On 1 December 2016 two new Traffic Separation Schemes (TSS) will come into effect off the south-west coast of Western Australia. Australia’s proposal to establish

World Trade Routes Won't be the Same with Expanded Panama Canal!

On 26th June 2016, a landmark development for the shipping industry will occur with the opening of the new third set of locks at the Panama Canal. Clarksons Research takes a look.

Expanded Panama Canal Nears Inauguration

As the global shipping industry facing tough weather, the $5.25 billion expansion of the Panama canal is set to open Sunday (June 26), reports AP. The deeper,

Passenger Vessels

Ovation Of The Seas Sets Sail From China

Royal Caribbean christened their third Quantum class cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas, to huge fanfare in a ceremony in Tianjin, China.   The event marked the

Crystal Cruises Plans Return to Port Everglades

Crystal Cruises' ships will return to Broward County's Port Everglades beginning in Fall 2017, having last sailed from the port in 2006.   Beginning October 27,

Kiel is First German Port of Call for Mein Schiff 5

The brand-new TUI Cruises newbuilding Mein Schiff 5 has arrived in Kiel – her first German port of call since being handed over in Turku, Finland, a few days ago.

Casualties

Blue Angels Resume Schedule

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels will return to its 2016 demonstration schedule July 2-4 in Traverse City, Mich., Commander, Naval Air Forces announced. The Blue Angels temporarily stood down,

Indonesian Navy fires on Chinese boat, injures fisherman

An Indonesian naval vessel fired on a Chinese fishing boat on Friday, injuring one person, China's foreign ministry said, the countries' third reported confrontation

Amid Melting Arctic Ice, Kerry sees Looming Climate Catastrophe

Standing near Greenland's Jakobshavn glacier, the reputed source of the iceberg that sank the Titanic over a century ago, U.S Secretary of State John Kerry saw evidence of another looming catastrophe.

Coast Guard

Indonesia Bans Ships for Philippines

The Indonesian Government has banned vessels flying Indonesias flag from sailing to the Philippines following the latest hostage incident.   According to a report in AP,

Ailing Mariner Medevaced off Alaska

An ailing crewmember aboard the fishing vessel Seafreeze Alaska was medevaced approximately 195 miles north of Cold Bay, Alaska, Thursday.   A Coast Guard Air

More than 2,000 Migrants Rescued at Sea -Italy Coastguard

Ship crews pulled more than 2,000 migrants from overcrowded boats in the Mediterranean on Friday, Italy's coastguard said, as people smugglers stepped up operations

Maritime Safety

Indonesia Bans Ships for Philippines

The Indonesian Government has banned vessels flying Indonesias flag from sailing to the Philippines following the latest hostage incident.   According to a report in AP,

Traffic Separation Schemes off Western Australia

On 1 December 2016 two new Traffic Separation Schemes (TSS) will come into effect off the south-west coast of Western Australia. Australia’s proposal to establish

Ailing Mariner Medevaced off Alaska

An ailing crewmember aboard the fishing vessel Seafreeze Alaska was medevaced approximately 195 miles north of Cold Bay, Alaska, Thursday.   A Coast Guard Air

Government Update

Indonesia Bans Ships for Philippines

The Indonesian Government has banned vessels flying Indonesias flag from sailing to the Philippines following the latest hostage incident.   According to a report in AP,

Traffic Separation Schemes off Western Australia

On 1 December 2016 two new Traffic Separation Schemes (TSS) will come into effect off the south-west coast of Western Australia. Australia’s proposal to establish

Austal Delivers LCS 8 to US Navy

Austal Limited (Austal) (ASX:ASB) delivered the future USS Montgomery (LCS 8) to the U.S. Navy, during a ceremony held aboard the ship at Austal USA’s shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, USA on 23 June.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar 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: 0.1359 sec (7 req/sec)