Coast Guard Captain Sentenced over Sewol


By Wendy Laursen 2015-02-11 19:13:58

A former South Korean Coast Guard captain has been sentenced to four years in prison following his actions during the capsizing of the ferry Sewol in April last year.

Kim Kyoung-il, a captain of a rescue boat at the scene, was convicted on charges of neglecting his duty to safely evacuate passengers from the sinking ferry. The accident claimed over 300 lives, most of them school children.

Gwangju District Court said that he failed to take proper measures at the scene and that he lied to reporters saying he made announcements for the passengers to evacuate.

"Kim simply asked his subordinates to rescue those who were readily visible and failed to evacuate hundreds inside," Judge Lim Jeong-yeop said, reports Yonhap news agency. "With such negligence, he has scarred the families of the victims for life."

The judge believed Kim’s actions were less grave than the ferry's owner who was responsible for the overloading of the ship and the structural changes that made it unstable. Owner Kim Han-Sik was sentenced to 10 years, and other company officials have been sentenced to three to six years, according to AP.

The Sewol captain Joon-Seok was sentenced to 36 years for gross negligence. Other crew members received terms of up to 30 years.