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

People & Company News

Baltic Mercur II makes maiden voyage to Antwerp

This week Atlantic Ro-Ro Carriers (ARRC) celebrates the maiden voyage of the Baltic Mercur II via the port of Antwerp as part of their regular transatlantic service to the US Gulf.

USCG Provides Safety Tips to Paddlesports Enthusiasts

As the boating season unofficially begins, the 9th Coast Guard District is reminding paddlesport enthusiasts to take precautions to ensure safe trips and increase

USS George Washington Completes Carrier Qualifications

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 and the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) completed its carrier qualifications (CQ), May 23. CQ allows

Legal

USCG Provides Safety Tips to Paddlesports Enthusiasts

As the boating season unofficially begins, the 9th Coast Guard District is reminding paddlesport enthusiasts to take precautions to ensure safe trips and increase

DNV GL’s Synergi to Manage Siem Offshore Newbuilding Projects

Siem Offshore has chosen DNV GL’s Synergi Project to manage nine newbuilding projects. Synergi Project software The software is used to optimize the collaboration

Wärtsilä's' Propulsion for Use with US Compliant ELA

Wärtsilä has developed propulsion systems that are capable of operating with Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs) and comply with the US Vessel General Permit 2013 (VGP-2013).

Navigation

Seaway to Receive Prestigious OECD Award

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) announced today that it will receive a prestigious award from the Organization for Economic Cooperation

IMO Adopts Polar Code Environmental Provisions

United Nations' International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted the environmental part of the Polar Code. Hereby, internationally binding regulations on

NAVTOR AS, Nautic AB Launch Complete Navigation Solution

E-navigation specialist NAVTOR has joined forces with Nautic AB, a provider of navigational equipment, charts and publications to the Swedish market, to launch NAVTOR NAUTIC AB.

Salvage

Oil Leak Contained at MV Miner Site

On-site workers acted quickly to contain an oil leak during the final stages of removing the wreck of the MV Miner off Scaterie Island, says the government of Canada’s Nova Scotia province.

Indonesia Sinks Boats from China

According to The China People's Daily, Indonesia has just sank a large Chinese vessel and 40 other foreign ships caught fishing in The South China Sea.    The

Norwegian Cruise Ship Ran Aground off Bermuda

The Norwegian Dawn cruise ship with more than 3,700 people on board ran aground in Bermuda after the vessel temporarily lost power.   Small boats, divers and

Casualties

Sea Urchin Haven Disturbed by Oil Spill

Stephanie Mutz makes a living plucking sea urchins from the Santa Barbara coast and selling the prickly treasure to upscale restaurants in Southern California.

5 Tunisian Migrants Die in Shipwreck

At least five Tunisian migrants died on Saturday when their boat sailing to Italy capsized off the Tunisian coast, officials said. "A migrant boat carrying

Oil-coated Pelicans Being cleaned at Rehab Center

Several petroleum-stained pelicans rescued from the blackened muck of California's latest oil spill spent the day on Friday being gently, painstakingly scrubbed

Coast Guard

USCG Provides Safety Tips to Paddlesports Enthusiasts

As the boating season unofficially begins, the 9th Coast Guard District is reminding paddlesport enthusiasts to take precautions to ensure safe trips and increase

Libyan War Plane Bombs another Tanker

A fighter jet operated by Libya's military force backed attacked an oil tanker that was about to anchor in the northern city of Sirte, reports local media.   Lt Gen.

5 Tunisian Migrants Die in Shipwreck

At least five Tunisian migrants died on Saturday when their boat sailing to Italy capsized off the Tunisian coast, officials said. "A migrant boat carrying

Maritime Safety

USCG Provides Safety Tips to Paddlesports Enthusiasts

As the boating season unofficially begins, the 9th Coast Guard District is reminding paddlesport enthusiasts to take precautions to ensure safe trips and increase

Wärtsilä's' Propulsion for Use with US Compliant ELA

Wärtsilä has developed propulsion systems that are capable of operating with Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs) and comply with the US Vessel General Permit 2013 (VGP-2013).

USS George Washington Completes Carrier Qualifications

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 and the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) completed its carrier qualifications (CQ), May 23. CQ allows

Government Update

Solarworld Wants Duties on Chinese Solar Goods in U.S. Extended

German solar manufacturer SolarWorld will apply to the United States for an extension of duties on Chinese panel imports that are due to end this year, weekly Euro am Sonntag said.

Alaska, Washington to build Arctic Icebreakers

Senator Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, and Senator Maria Cantwell, Washington, have introduced a bill that would authorize the Navy to build up six icebreakers for use by the U.

Launch of First Future Destroyer, Hobart

Speech delivered by the Minister for Defence, Kevin Andrews during the launch of Hobart - the first future destroyer: Thank you for being here on this very important day.

 
 
Maritime Contracts Naval Architecture Pipelines Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators 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: 0.2181 sec (5 req/sec)