South Korea ferry disaster: New report announces Sewol ferry was licensed through false documents and carrying double its cargo limit
The report by the government’s Audit and Inspection Board also criticised the South Korean coastguard for not reacting quickly enough
Wednesday 09 July 2014
The Sewol ferry that sunk in April leading to the death of at least 292 South Koreans was licensed based on falsified documents, South Korean investigators have revealed.
The initial inquiry looking into the reasons behind the disaster also stated that the tragedy was “man-made” and had occurred because operators had prioritised profit over safety.
According to the report published on Tuesday by the South Korean government’s Audit and Inspection Board, the ship had received its license from the Korean Register of Shipping on the back of fake documents; however, they were unable to elaborate further.
At least 292 people died when the ferry sunk just off the west coast; with more than 200 high school students among the dead.
The disaster led to a period of national mourning across South Korea, as well as angry protests from relatives of those that had died, upset at the handling of rescue and recovery efforts by South Korean authorities.
Now it has been announced that the tragedy could have been avoided if those in charge had decided against taking on a level of cargo that was nearly double the ship’s limit.
It was also found that officials from Korean Register of Shipping had been negligent in carrying out the correct safety procedures before the ship went to sea.
The report was critical of the South Korean Coast Guard, saying they were late to react when the ship contacted them, and that the rescue orders issued when rescue operations did begin were not adequate.
The report comes, as the trial of the ferry’s captain and his 14 crew members continues in the South Korean city of Gwangju.
Victim's mother hits out at 'corrupt' South Korean government
There were scenes of anger in the packed court room on Tuesday as parents of the victims shouted insults at the judges and defendants, with one woman even throwing her shoes at the dock.
The trial of the fifteen surviving crew has been closely watched by the South Korean public and sees the 15 surviving crew members face charges ranging from negligence to homicide.
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