SEWOL one year sitting on the bottom


#1

why on earth has the ship not been raised and the hideous mistakes of this tragedy finally brought to light?

[B]A Year After Ferry Disaster, South Koreans Await Answers[/B]

April 15, 201511:38 AM ET

A relative of a victim of the Sewol ferry receives a hug during a rally earlier this month in Seoul. A year after the disaster that killed 304, parents of the victims are still demanding an independent investigation and recovery of the boat.

A relative of a victim of the Sewol ferry receives a hug during a rally earlier this month in Seoul. A year after the disaster that killed 304, parents of the victims are still demanding an independent investigation and recovery of the boat.

As South Korea marks the first anniversary of one of its worst maritime disasters — the sinking of the Sewol ferry — many family members are still pushing for answers about what went wrong and why so many lives were lost. The capsizing of the Sewol on April 16 last year killed 304 people. Most of them were students from one high school.

It’s not hard to spot grieving parents in Seoul’s central square: Their heads are freshly shaved. It’s an Asian tradition showing determination, and the families have done it as part of their ongoing protest of the government response to the tragedy.

About 70 parents who lost children in the Sewol sinking shaved their heads in mourning and protest.

For weeks, they have marched, rallied and occupied Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Square, the symbolic center of the city, pressing for the full and independent investigation South Korean President Park Geun-hye promised in the days after the ship went down. A year later, the investigation hasn’t started, and the ferry still sits at the bottom of the ocean.

“What is the government trying to do? I don’t know what they’re trying to do. All I can see is they’re trying to hide,” says Jeong Jung-im.

This time last year, Jeong was sending the youngest of her two daughters, 16-year-old Kim Min-jun, on the Sewol for a school trip. A day and a half later, she and her husband learned the news that still haunts her. Kim was one of the more than 200 high school students who would never come home.

“I can at least cry … I have tears in my eyes,” Jeong says. “But my husband, he can’t even cry. The anger just piles up inside him.”

The captain of the ferry is serving jail time for negligence in abandoning the ship, and some incremental changes have been made since the disaster. Regulators tightened oversight of cargo loads, for instance, since prosecutors found the ferry capsized partly because it carried twice the legal limit of cargo on its final voyage.

But parents want an outside look at why rescue efforts took so long, what mistakes were made at official levels, and how lax enforcement might have played a role.

“Accidents like this keep happening and will keep happening,” says Ryu Sang-il, a professor of public safety at Dong-eui University in Busan.

In South Korea, he says, high-speed economic growth trumps all other priorities. So a year later, it’s hard to tell how much safety has really improved.

And now, a bitter political back-and-forth has stymied efforts to heal the wounds.

On one side are the Koreans who want more answers from the country’s leadership.

On the other side are people like Jang Gi-chong. He leads counter-protesters who show up in the same public square as parents, saying families are holding back the country and should go home. He and other counter-protesters oppose further investigation, saying the prosecution of the ship’s captain and focusing blame on the ferry company owners is enough.

“This problem, the Sewol incident, is definitely not an accident caused by government. To hold the government accountable for this? That’s wrong,” he says.

Then there are the loved ones who have only one demand — closure. Nine victims — one just 6 years old — are still missing, their bodies never recovered. Lee Keum-hui’s daughter is one of them.

“When I think of my daughter, my heart breaks, because I think of how scared she must have been, how she must have cried out for me,” Lee said, in an emotional news conference in Seoul.

She and other family members of the missing say they’re not pressing for reform, they just want the ship to be towed out of the water.

“All I’m thinking about is I have to get her back. I know she’s inside the Sewol ferry. So all I feel now is despair,” Lee said.

President Park said last week she’d consider raising the Sewol, but set no date for a decision. The price tag for ship recovery — an estimated $110 million — is clearly divisive, as well. There’s also no start date for the outside investigation parents have pressed for, leaving those seeking answers struggling to move on.


#2

Yes, the Sewol. The consensus here was that the captain was a murderer.

The captain is now in jail, case closed. Another ferry rolls over? Throw another captain in jail. Wash, rinse, repeat.


#3

The Korean Coast Guard dismantled to the benefice of Ministry of Public Safety and Security after poor rescue operation, has concluded that an “unreasonably sudden turn” to starboard was the cause of the capsizing. According to the Ex Korean Coast Guard, the sudden turn caused the cargo to shift to port, causing the ship to experience an incline and to eventually become unmanageable for the crew. The existence of the sudden turn has been confirmed by the analysis of the ship’s Automatic Identification System data. The crew of the ferry has agreed that the main cause was the sudden turn. Experts such as Lee Sang-yun a professor and head of the environment/maritime technology institute of the Pukyong National University, have also agreed.

Note: Rule 17, Action by Stand-on Vessel
(b) When, from any cause, the vessel required to keep her course and speed finds herself so close that collision cannot be avoided by the action of the give-way vessel alone, she shall take such action as will best aid to avoid collision, keeping in mind to avoid an “unreasonably sudden turn” to starboard!

Adding extra passenger cabins have decreased the intact righting moment and contributed to the capsize of the ferry. Overloading and not properly securing cargo are also being seen as direct causes. The MV Sewol was carrying 3,608 tons of cargo, more than three times the limit of 987 tons. The overloading was also previously noted by an off-duty captain and the first mate. According to the off-duty captain of the Sewol, the ship owners ignored his warning that the ship should not carry so much cargo because she would not be stable. The Sewol was carrying only 580 tons of ballast water, much less than the recommended 2,030 tons and this would make the vessel more prone to list and capsize. The crew had reportedly pumped out hundreds of tons of ballast water from the bottom of the ship in order to accommodate the additional cargo.

Note; Well captain, along with our new added passenger cabins, you will carry 3 times the cargo limit that will not need to be lashed and so, pump out the ballasts. But keep in mind to avoid an “unreasonably sudden turn” to starboard! If you don’t agree, will dishonor your name, your discharge and you will be unemployable anymore.

Operators
The chief executive of Chonghaejin Marine was arrested and is facing charges including causing death by negligence. Four other company officials were also taken into custody. The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries withdraw Chonghaejin Marine’s license to operate ferries.

Owner
The former chairman of Chonghaejin Marine, ignored District Prosecutor’s Office summonses and went into hiding. The District Court issued an arrest warrant and Korean authorities offered a 48,800$ reward for information leading to the arrest of the chairman. The reward was then raised to 488,000$. On 21 July 2014, it was reported that a body found in a field in June was believed to be the chairman’s one.

Regulation
The disaster raised questions about the regulation of shipping in South Korea. Shipping is regulated by the Korean Shipping Association, which is also an industry trade group of experts employed by the government as regulators on their behalf, which is likely… consider a conflict of interest. Yun Jong-hwui, a professor at Korea Maritime and Ocean University notes that while South Korean regulations are strong, they are often poorly enforced.

Jung Hong-won, the prime minister of South Korea, accepted responsibility and announced his resignation.

The rescued vice principal of Danwon High School Kang Min-kyu, 52, committed suicide by hanging himself.

The former chairman and owner of Chonghaejin Marine suicide but was still sentenced with his son to three years in prison.

With enthusiasm, on 11 November 2014, Master after God in the chaos Lee Jun-seok won the first prize as guilty of negligence and he was sentenced to 36 years imprisonment by the District Court.

Wash, rinse, repeat. !


#4

I remember right after this happened there was a flurry of rather patronizing articles about the disaster which put the blame for the casualty squarely at the feet of Korean culture. If you google you can find a bunch of them. What utter garbage. The old hierarchical Asian stereotypes about obedient people freezing in place because 5000 years of obeying elders are just crap. The dead were mostly high school kids who were scared shitless. Pax everywere will freeze or panic without calm, level headed direction in a disaster. It’s not a cultural thing. The whole damn mess could have been avoided with proper training. There is no such thing as a genetic or cultural inability to think and act professionally. I see it as excuse making.


#5

Now, nearly three and a half year since the accident, the saga of the SEWOL can finally be laid to rest:


#6

“Unreasonable turn to starboard?”

Not quite sure what part of the rules this is in, although it would be unreasonable to turn to starboard for a vessel overtaking you on your starboard side. Plus some cautions about how to maneuver in restricted visibility when you detect a target by radar alone.

Now 17c does caution against a stand on vessel from turning to port to avoid a vessel on her port side.

I’m not saying it wasn’t an unreasonable turn, I’m just trying to figure out what rule is being cited for an unreasonable turn to starboard.


#7

It was unreasonably sudden, meaning that their stability sucked so bad that she couldn’t take a hard turn without capsizing.


#8

The point was, why use COLREGS to explain why a turn was unreasonable when that had nothing to do with the idiocy that killed so many?

That’s one thing that leads to unreasonable knee jerk new requirements in keeping a disaster like this from occurring in the future.


#9

Tell us where someone investigating the incident it the experts interviewed used the COLREGS to explain why the turn was unreasonable.


#10

The post from Topsail that I was replying to


#11

One of Prof. Levenson’s students did a first-rate analysis of this incident:

http://sunnyday.mit.edu/papers/Kwon-Thesis.pdf

The critique of the official reports (pg 171 ff) should be mandatory reading for anyone interested in what happened. As is often the case, the feedback control model yields both broader and deeper insights than event-chain models.

Earl


#12

I fixed it for you.