New video just released by the South Korean Coast Guard shows the captain of the Sewol abandoning the heavily listing ship into a coast guard lifeboat as hundreds of passengers remained onboard.
Meanwhile, a phone recovered from the lifeless body of one of the children that died on board the Sewol provides seemingly concrete evidence of tragic errors made by the crew. Errors that include repeat orders to the kids to remain in place while the ship rolled over and sank.
In an emailed statement by Korean Register of Shipping (KR) spokesperson Charles Choi, he notes that the vessel was allegedly overloaded at the time of the capsizing, however “we will have to wait until the official investigation initiated by the authorities is completed to find out whether this was true or not.”
Commenting on reports that the shipowner had only spent $521 on the training of the Sewol’s crew so far this year, Choi notes, “KR is not in charge of looking after the safety management aspect of coastal vessels, so it would have been difficult for our surveyors to note any training related deficiencies.”
South Korea’s Justice Minister Hwang Kyo Ahn today pledged an overhaul of shipping industry regulations today in a parliament committee meeting today. He nots, “We will study any structural problems in the shipping industry and overhaul its legal framework to prevent similar disasters. Given the public anger and the issue’s seriousness, we will actively apply all laws to strictly punish those involved. The ferry’s crew, operator and regulator face severe punishment over any wrongdoings.”
The Captain and two other crew face punishments of up to life in prison.
Here’s the raw video released by the South Korean Coast Guard showing the captain abandoning the sinking ship: