Korean Coast Guard to be Broken Up

Posted by George Backwell
Monday, May 19, 2014
Wreck buoy: File image

South Korean President Park Geun-hye formally apologized on Monday for a ferry disaster last month that killed about 300 passengers, mostly school children, and said she would break up the coast guard because it had failed in its rescue mission.

Park has been hit hard by an angry nation-wide outcry over the government's response to South Korea's worst civilian maritime disaster in 20 years and the seemingly slow and ineffective rescue operation.

Polls show support for Park has dropped by more than 20 points since the April 16 disaster.

"I apologize to the nation for the pain and suffering that everyone felt, as the president who should have been responsible for the safety and lives of the people," Park said in a televised national address, her first since the Sewol capsized and sank with 476 passengers and crew on board.

At least 286 people were killed and 18 remain missing. Only 172 people were rescued, with the rest presumed to have drowned.

Of the passengers, 339 were children and their teachers on a field trip from a high school on the outskirts of Seoul. Park fought back sobs as she remembered some of the teenagers who perished while trying to help each other.

She vowed sweeping reforms to improve oversight, as well as tough punishment for bureaucrats and businesses whose negligence endangers public safety.

"A 20-year-old vessel was bought and refurbished to add excessive capacity, then it was loaded with much more cargo than allowed with a false reporting on weight, but not a single person in the position to supervise stopped any of it," Park said.

She singled out structural problems within the coast guard as the main reason why there was such a high casualty toll from an accident that played out on national television as the vessel gradually sank with most of the passengers trapped inside.

"Had there been an immediate and proactive rescue operation after the accident, we would have been able to reduce the casualties," Park said.

The coast guard's rescue duties will be transferred to a national emergency safety agency to be set up and the national police will take over its investigative function, she said.

(By Jack Kim)
Maritime Reporter October 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

SAAM SMIT Towage Orders Damen ASD Tug

SAAM SMIT Towage, a joint venture between SAAM S.A. of Chile and Dutch company Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V., has signed a contract for the purchase of a Damen Tug 2913 for delivery in early 2016,

Scandinavian Bunkering Names Vinde Managing Director

Marine fuel supplier Scandinavian Bunkering A/S announced today that Erik Vinde has been appointed as Managing Director, effective from August 1.   Vinde joined Scandinavian Bunkering in 2006,

NSSLGlobal Trials Wi-Fi with British Royal Navy

Satellite communications provider NSSLGlobal announced the trial of its Wi-Fi service across selected British Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships. The service,


NYK Joanna Rescues Fishermen off Philippines Coast

On October 3, NYK Joanna, a containership operated by NYK, rescued seven fishermen in distress off the coast of the Philippines. While the NYK vessel was sailing on October 3 from Vungtau,

Value of Fire-damaged Vessel Disputed

Press release - International Transport Intermediaries Club (ITIC) has reported a case in which hull and machinery insurance underwriters instituted proceedings

20 Nations Reinforce their Commitment to Fight Piracy

Senior officers from Australia and 19 other nations attended the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP)

Coast Guard

USCG, RCAF to Conduct Joint Training

The crew of Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City is hosting an international joint search-and-rescue exercise with members of the Royal Canadian Air Force beginning

20 Nations Reinforce their Commitment to Fight Piracy

Senior officers from Australia and 19 other nations attended the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP)

USCG Repatriates 12 Migrants

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Confidence repatriated 12 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba, Saturday. While on routine patrol a Coast Guard aircraft

Government Update

Asian Shipping Lines Lowers Fees

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said Japan’s Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line), South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping, Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM),

Cammell Laird to Build Polar Research Ship

The U.K. Government announced Monday that Cammell Laird in Birkenhead has been selected as the preferred bidder to build the nation’s new £200 million polar research ship.

Poland: First LNG Shipment due in Nov-Dec

Poland expects to receive its first cargo of liquefied natural gas at its new LNG terminal at the end of November or early December, the treasury minister was quoted as saying on Sunday.


Student Ferry Competition Draws Record Participation

The Worldwide Ferry Safety Association’s (WFSA) international student ferry design competition, geared toward developing a Safe Affordable Ferry, enters its third

Wind/Solar Ship Power System Earns Patent

Eco Marine Power’s (EMP) Aquarius Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) System, a wind and solar power solution for ships, has been granted a patent in Japan, paving way for commercial production.

Mercury Marine, FPT Partner for Diesel Engine Launch

Mercury Marine informs it has signed a supply agreement with FPT Industrial to make the FPT 6.7L mechanically fuel injected NEF engines available for sale in global markets.

Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Salvage 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: 0.1514 sec (7 req/sec)