South Korea Ferry Survivors Demand Answers

Posted by Joseph Keefe
Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Teenage survivors of South Korea's worst maritime disaster in 20 years, many wearing yellow bracelets, walked out of classrooms on Tuesday and marched on parliament to demand enabling legislation for a inquiry into the more than 300 deaths.

More than half of the 75 children rescued from the ferry Sewol that capsized and sank on April 16 joined growing public calls for parliament to pass a special bill for an independent inquiry sought by victims' families. More than 3.5 million signatures have been collected to demand its passage.

"The entire nation saw it on April 16. We ask that the truth behind the unfair deaths our friends suffered be told," said a bespectacled boy taking part, who asked not to be identified.

"We don't know much about the law, but if we don't do this there is nothing we can do, so we ask that our wish is met."

Of the 476 passengers and crew, 339 were children and teachers from Danwon Highschool on the outskirts of Seoul. Only 172 people were rescued and the rest are presumed to have drowned.

The children passed though the school's stone gates and down a boulevard, mostly in silence.

Many wore the bracelets emblazoned with "Remember 0416" or sashes and kerchiefs made out of yellow pieces of cloth - the colour chosen to express dissatisfaction with the authorities' handling of the disaster.

Other marchers carried yellow flags. One sign read: "Shed light on our friends' unfair deaths."

"Our children are marching with their pure hearts to console parents of their friends and ask to find the truth of the disaster," said Oh Ji-yeon, the father of one survivor.

The children made their way to a small park where 15 relatives of victims were undertaking the second day of a hunger strike to press for the bill. Marchers set up displays of yellow paper boats to draw attention to the strikers.

BOXES OF SIGNATURES


Nearby, organisers set up neat rows of boxes, covered in yellow paper, each containing some of the 3.5 million signatures backing the petition to parliament. Several dozen adults had earlier marched to the site carrying yellow umbrellas.

The Sewol's 15 surviving crew members, including the captain, are on trial on charges ranging from homicide to negligence. Security forces have been engaged in a manhunt for more than two months for the head of the family that owns the holding company of the ferry operator.

Families of the victims and survivors say too little is being done to establish the truth about what led to the disaster on a routine journey to the holiday island of Jeju.

The special law demanded by the petitioners would ensure their participation in an independent probe into the sinking. The families have demanded the right to name half the experts from the independent team to pursue the inquiry.

Parliament has agreed to consider the bill, but is split on legal grounds over whether to grant the group investigative authority. Investigators have established that the Sewol was overloaded and travelling too fast on a turn when it sank.

President Park Geun-hye's government has come under heavy criticism for its handling of the disaster and the sluggish rescue operation. Her prime minister resigned but was reinstated after two failed attempts to find a replacement.


Reporting by Jinwoo Lee and Ju-min Park

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

People & Company News

Evergreen Upgrades its Intra-Asia Service Network

Evergreen Line announced it will partner with Mariana Express in launching a joint South China- East Malaysia (SEM) Service. The new initiative will give a boost

Bureau Veritas Diversifies with MatthewsDaniel Acquisition

Bureau Veritas announced today that it has acquired MatthewsDaniel Ltd, a global provider of loss adjusting and risk assessment services for the offshore industry.

Fogal Retires from Zentech After 57 Years in O&G

Robert “Bob” “Sonny” Fogal, Jr., one of the icons in the offshore oil and gas industry, has decided to retire from front-line work as Zentech’s Director of Business Development.

Casualties

Master Fined After Wind Farm Collision

The master of a wind farm support vessel has today been made to pay £3,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to breaches of maritime collision regulations.

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,

USCG, National Park Service Rescue Sea Turtle

Members from the U.S. Coast Guard and National Park Service rescued a loggerhead sea turtle Sunday in Oregon Inlet. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector North Carolina

News

Vard Orders Parat Electric Steam & Hot Water Boilers

During the last month, PARAT Halvorsen AS has collected four new boiler plant orders from the Vard Group and their multipurpose platform ships of Vard 1 08 design.

N-KOM Lays Keel for Qatar’s First Liftboat

Nakilat-Keppel Offshore & Marine (N-KOM) has achieved another milestone with the keel laying of its first liftboat newbuild project, awarded in July 2014 by long-time

STS Young Endeavour Prepares for World Voyage

The Royal Australian Navy operated Sail Training Ship, Young Endeavour, is undergoing maintenance work in preparation for a 12-month world circumnavigation. It

Maritime Safety

Master Fined After Wind Farm Collision

The master of a wind farm support vessel has today been made to pay £3,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to breaches of maritime collision regulations.

Challenging the Myths of Pirate Violence

“In the last five years, pirates have killed at least 411 fishermen and wounded at least 1,000 more, suggested Mujibur Rahman, Chairman of Cox’s Bazar District

SCI Sets Its Sights on Scandinavia

Survival Craft Inspectorate (SCI), a global provider of emergency marine evacuation systems, has appointed two new distributors as the business targets growth opportunities in Scandinavia.

People in the News

Ballast Water Leadership

Admiral Paul Zukunft, the new U.S. Coast Guard Commandant, could fill the BWT leadership void. Global efforts to combat the spread of invasive species in ballast

Joe Barton: Lift Oil Export Ban

A senior U.S. Congressman from Texas has come out in full support of the United States lifting the 40-year old ban on crude oil exports, putting him at odds with

Navy Unmanned Aircraft Sets the Bar

The Navy's X-47B unmanned aircraft has completed its final test aboard 'USS Theodore Roosevelt' (CVN 71) and has returned to its home base at Naval Air Station Patuxent River after eight days at sea
,

Government Update

Polar Code Afoot

The IMO is on the verge of adopting the Polar Code, something that is important and long overdue. The International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations,

Algeria in Talks to Export Crude to Venezuela

Algeria is in talks to export crude oil to fellow OPEC member Venezuela, Algerian Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi said on Tuesday, confirming a Reuters report. Last week,

Joe Barton: Lift Oil Export Ban

A senior U.S. Congressman from Texas has come out in full support of the United States lifting the 40-year old ban on crude oil exports, putting him at odds with

Ferries

FTA Approves WSF Ferry Terminal Plans

In the latest Washington State Ferries Weekly Update, Capt. George A. Capacci, Interim Assistant Secretary WSDOT/Ferries Division briefs as follows: "FTA approves

NZ Interislander Ferry to Dry-dock in Devonport

NewZealand's KiwiRail says that the Interislander ferry Arahura has left Wellington for her scheduled bi-annual dry-docking in Devonport, having last visited Auckland in July 2012.

Voith Schneider Propellers Drive Double-ended Ferry MS Frisia IV

Ferries operated by Norden-Frisia AG have been serving the East Frisian island of Norderney for many decades. Navigation in these coastal waters poses special

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Port Authority Salvage Ship Simulators 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: 0.1419 sec (7 req/sec)