S.Korea ferry crew could face murder charges
Publish Date: Apr 21, 2014
S.Korea ferry crew could face murder charges
The Korea ferry disaster crew could face murder charges. FILE PHOTO
  • mail
  • img

SEOUL- South Korean President Park Geun-Hye said Monday that the behaviour of the captain and crew of the ferry that capsized five days ago with 476 people on board was unacceptable and "tantamount to murder".
"The actions of the captain and some crew members were utterly incomprehensible, unacceptable and tantamount to murder," the presidential Blue House quoted Park as saying in a meeting with senior aides.
Park said it was increasingly clear that Captain Lee Joon-Seok had unnecessarily delayed the evacuation of passengers as the ferry started sinking, and then "deserted them" by escaping first.
Lee was arrested on Saturday along with a helmsman and the ship's relatively inexperienced third officer, who was in charge of the bridge when the ship first ran into trouble.
Fresh indications show that the evacuation was delayed by panic and indecision, as the death toll from the disaster pushed past 60 with hundreds still missing.
"Precious minutes just wasted," ran the front page headline in the Dong-A Ilbo newspaper, in response to a communications transcript released Sunday revealing the confusion as the crew and marine traffic control debated evacuating the sinking vessel.
While an unidentified crew member repeatedly asked if there were coastguard vessels on hand to rescue anyone who abandoned ship, the marine controller insisted the crew check that passengers had donned lifejackets and extra clothes.
At one point the marine controller stressed that only the captain could make a call on evacuating the 6,825-tonne Sewol as it listed sharply over before eventually capsizing.
"When it comes to evacuation, you, captain, make the final judgement," the controller said.
The captain and crew -- most of whom escaped the ferry -- have faced vehement criticism for delaying the order to abandon ship -- a possibly fatal error of judgement before the vessel fully submerged with hundreds trapped on board.
The confirmed death toll from the disaster rose to 64 on Monday morning, with 238 people still unaccounted for.
Coastguard officials said 24 bodies had been removed from the ship which sank on Wednesday morning, but hundreds more were still believed trapped inside.

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Polls open in Portugal
PORTUGUESE voters began casting their ballots, choosing between the incumbent centre-right coalition that steered the country through a punishing bailout...
Former Singapore prisoner nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Singapore dissidents nominate the city state''s longest-held political prisoner for the Nobel Peace Prize....
S. Sudan
An earth bank surrounds the United Nations peacekeeping base outside Bentiu in South Sudan....
Merkel tops speculation on scooping Nobel Peace Prize
German Chancellor Angela Merkel could win this year's Nobel Peace Prize, a media report said Friday, amid speculation her response to Europe's migrant crisis could be recognised by the prestigious jury next week....
NATO launches biggest military exercise since 2002
NATO launches its biggest military exercise since 2002 on Saturday, putting 36,000 alliance soldiers through their paces in Italy, Spain and Portugal to boost preparedness against the backof the Ukraine crisis....
S. Sudan
The vice president urges the UN not to impose "undeserved" sanctions against leaders working to implement a peace deal....
Should sachet waragi be banned?
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter