A passenger ship carrying 110 passengers and crew ran aground in South Korea on Tuesday not far from where the Sewol tragedy occurred last April. In this case, all passengers were rescued without serious injury in around 20 minutes.
The 171-ton cruise ship Vacance was carrying 105 tourists and five crew when it struck a reef as it passed east of Hongdo Island off South Jeolla Province, South Korea. The ship started to take on water, and passengers were told to put life jackets on, reports Chosun Media.
The successful rescue has been attributed to the calm response of passengers and crew and the swift action of nearby boats and the coast guard. The coast guard mobilized five helicopters and three patrol boats and asked the navy and fishing boats in nearby waters for assistance. Another cruise ship arrived within 10 minutes and rescued about 80 passengers. Fishing boats picked up the rest.
Five crewmembers including the captain stayed aboard the ship until it was towed to a nearby port. Local media speculates that the captain may have veered off course as he was unfamiliar with the area.
The ship had just had its permit renewed despite being 27 years old, seven years older than Sewol. After the April Sewol disaster, local residents filed a petition with the coast guard asking for it to be taken out of service for safety reasons related to its age. However the coast guard reportedly verified the ship’s seaworthiness in May.
Map showing location of Hongdo Island: