Korean Ferry: Pair Drowned with PFD's Tied Together

Joseph Keefe
Thursday, April 24, 2014

A boy and girl trapped in a sinking South Korean ferry with hundreds of other high school students tied their life jacket cords together, a diver who recovered their bodies said, presumably so they wouldn't float apart.

The diver had to separate the two because he could not carry two corpses up to the surface at the same time.

"I started to cry thinking that they didn't want to leave each other," he told the Kyunghyang Shinmun newspaper on the island of Jindo on Thursday, near where the overloaded ferry went down last week.

The parents of the boy whose shaking voice first raised the alarm that an overloaded ferry was sinking believe his body has also been found, the coastguard said.

The parents had seen his body and clothes and concluded he was their son, but he has not been formally identified.

More than 300 people, most of them students and teachers from the Danwon High School, are dead or missing presumed dead after the April 16 disaster. The confirmed death toll on Thursday was 171.

The Sewol ferry, weighing almost 7,000 tons, sank on a routine trip from the port of Incheon, near Seoul, to the southern holiday island of Jeju. Investigations are focused on human error and mechanical failure.

Prosecutors said they had raided two shipping watchdogs, the Korean Shipping Association and the Korean Register of Shipping, as part of their expanded investigation into the disaster. Yonhap news agency said they would investigate whether ship safety certificates were in order.

"The objective was to investigate malpractices and corruption in the entire shipping industry," Song In-taek, head deputy chief prosecutor at Incheon District Prosecution Service, told reporters.

Prosecutors have also raided the home of Yoo Byung-un, the head of a family that owns the Chonghaejin Marine Co. Ltd, the company that operated the Sewol. They had also seized another ferry run by the company to check for safety.

A lawyer for the family said it would take "all legal and social responsibility for this tragic accident if they have to as major stakeholders of the company". He did not say the family was assuming liability.

Of the 476 passengers and crew on board the Sewol, 339 were children and teachers from the school in Ansan, a gritty suburb on the outskirts of Seoul, who were on an outing to Jeju.

As the ferry began sinking, the crew told the children to stay in their cabins. Most of those who obeyed died. Many of those who flouted or did not hear the instructions and went out on deck were rescued.

Some of the bodies had their hands held tightly like foetuses to try to keep warm, a newspaper said.

Classes at the school resumed on Thursday with banks of flowers surrounding photos of each of the victims, dressed in their school uniforms. Almost 250 teenagers and teachers at the school have died or are presumed dead.

Fellow students filed past, offering white chrysanthemums in sombre tributes. Yellow ribbons, with names and messages inscribed, were tied around a chain-link fence.

FIRST DISTRESS CALL

In the classrooms of the missing, friends posted messages on desks, blackboards and windows, in the days after disaster struck, asking for the safe return of their friends.

"If I see you again, I'll tell you I love you, because I haven't said it to you enough," read one.

The school provided therapy sessions for the children as they returned.

The first distress call from the sinking vessel was made by a boy with a shaking voice, three minutes after the vessel made its fateful last turn, a fire service officer told Reuters.

The boy called the emergency 119 number which put him through to the fire service, which in turn forwarded him to the coastguard two minutes later. That was followed by about 20 other calls from children on board the ship to the emergency number.

The ship, 146 metres (479 feet) long and 22 metres wide, was over three times overloaded, according to official recommendations, with cargo poorly stowed and inadequate ballast.

Moon Ki-han, an executive at Uryeon (Union Transport Co.), the firm that supervised cargo loading, told Reuters there were 105 containers onboard, some of which toppled into the sea as the ship listed.

Forty-five were loaded on to the front deck and 60 into the lower decks, Moon said. In total, the ship was carrying 3,600 metric tons of cargo including containers, vehicles and other goods, he said.

A member of parliament this week said the Korean Register of Shipping recommended a load of 987 tons for the Sewol.

Captain Lee Joon-seok, 69, and other crew members who abandoned ship have been arrested on negligence charges. Lee was also charged with undertaking an "excessive change of course without slowing down".

One crew member said on Thursday she and six colleagues were "under command" to abandon ship.

The unidentified crew member, speaking briefly to reporters on the way from court back into detention, was hidden behind a surgical mask and wearing a baseball cap with a jacket hood. She did not elaborate.

Another crew member was asked if there was any discussion about trying to save the passengers.

"At that moment, we were on the third floor and except for the third floor situation, we weren't aware of anything else," the crew member said.


By James Pearson and Meeyoung Cho

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

Casualties

Shipoweners Warned to be Prepared for Migrant Rescues

The North P&I club has warned its shipowner members of the need to be properly prepared to meet their moral and legal obligations to rescue migrants at sea. In

USCG Searching for Missing Boaters in Mobile Bay Area

The Coast Guard continues to search for at least five people in the Mobile Bay area Sunday. Rescuers searched throughout the night for the missing boaters and have covered a total of 1,

MPHRP at Anglo Eastern Maritime Academy

Chirag Bahri, MPHRP Regional Director for South Asia was invited by Anglo Eastern Maritime Academy in Karjat, India, to interact with the cadets undergoing pre

Maritime Safety

IMO Forum Aims to Rebuild Somalia's Maritime Sector

A three-day Stakeholders Forum will be held April 27-29 to review draft guidelines for the establishment of a Somalia Maritime Administration, coordinated and funded

London P&I Club Issues Recommendations on Bauxite Cargoes

The London P&I Club has issued a list of recommendations to owners contemplating the carriage of bauxite cargoes in the wake of renewed concerns about the dangers

Shipoweners Warned to be Prepared for Migrant Rescues

The North P&I club has warned its shipowner members of the need to be properly prepared to meet their moral and legal obligations to rescue migrants at sea. In

Government Update

US Designates Three Marine Highway Projects

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has designated three new Marine Highway Projects.   The Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, previously designated as the M-55 and M-35,

IMO Forum Aims to Rebuild Somalia's Maritime Sector

A three-day Stakeholders Forum will be held April 27-29 to review draft guidelines for the establishment of a Somalia Maritime Administration, coordinated and funded

EPA Promotes Green Initiatives at Port of Houston

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy visited the Port of Houston April 24 to highlight grants aimed at improving air quality. The port will receive about $900,

Ferries

Venezuela Probes ex-minister accused of corruption in Ferry Deals

A former minister in President Nicolas Maduro's government denied in an interview published on Friday accusations of corruption during the purchase of three

IMO: Making Ferries Safer

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) domestic ferry safety conference in Manila April 24 has adopted guidelines to aid the process of reducing the mounting

Spanish Ferry Operator Enrolls in Carbon Credits Program

Spanish ferry operator Baleària has signed up to AkzoNobel’s carbon credits program. The company has enrolled its passenger ferry Martin i Soler into the scheme,

Insurance

London P&I Club Issues Recommendations on Bauxite Cargoes

The London P&I Club has issued a list of recommendations to owners contemplating the carriage of bauxite cargoes in the wake of renewed concerns about the dangers

Shipoweners Warned to be Prepared for Migrant Rescues

The North P&I club has warned its shipowner members of the need to be properly prepared to meet their moral and legal obligations to rescue migrants at sea. In

Lagos Port Drags on Africa's Top Economy

Ruling party reforms improved Apapa port; shippers still face delays and corruption. The road leading to the Lagos port, which handles nearly everything that Africa's biggest economy imports,

P&I Clubs

London P&I Club Issues Recommendations on Bauxite Cargoes

The London P&I Club has issued a list of recommendations to owners contemplating the carriage of bauxite cargoes in the wake of renewed concerns about the dangers

Shipoweners Warned to be Prepared for Migrant Rescues

The North P&I club has warned its shipowner members of the need to be properly prepared to meet their moral and legal obligations to rescue migrants at sea. In

Lagos Port Drags on Africa's Top Economy

Ruling party reforms improved Apapa port; shippers still face delays and corruption. The road leading to the Lagos port, which handles nearly everything that Africa's biggest economy imports,

 
 
Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction 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: 0.2162 sec (5 req/sec)