South Korean Shipping Accidents Double in 2015
South Korea experienced 2,740 maritime accidents last year that resulted in 112 deaths or missing persons, according to South Korean government data released in March.
The number of accidents was double the annual average of 1,367 for the previous three years.
The South Korean Ministry of Public Safety and Security blames the rise on poor maintenance and faulty equipment.
The number of accidents attributed to poor maintenance rose to 854 ships last year from 377 in 2014. Faulty equipment resulted in 676 accidents, double the previous year’s 305.
Fishing boats accounted for 1,566 accidents, pleasure craft, 324, and tugboats and barges, 145.
The figures released also showed that the number of deaths was higher than recent annual averages this decade, but much lower than that of 2014 – the year of the Sewol ferry disaster. Over 300 people, mostly school children, died when the Sewol ferry capsized off the nation’s south-western coast.
The Ministry intends to establish a vessel safety consultative body that will ensure follow-up measures are taken after maritime accidents. The nation’s Coast Guard will also institute a mobile maritime safety corps by the end of May.
The Sewol Saga Continues
The daughter of the late South Korean shipping tycoon blamed for 2014 Sewol disaster will be extradited from France back to South Korea. The decision on Yoo Byung-eun's eldest daughter, Som-na, came about two years after she was arrested in France in May 2014, reports South Korean News Agency Yonhap.
Som-na is wanted on a string of corruption charges and other alleged irregularities that are believed to have contributed to the sinking of the Sewol. Yoo Byung-eun, who owned the operator of the Sewol, Chonghaejin Marine Co., was found dead in July 2014 after a nation-wide manhunt.
Meanwhile, the bereaved families of students who died in the disaster have reached an agreement with other parents at the school to replicate the classrooms of the former students elsewhere instead of leaving them unused.
The classrooms at the Danwon High School in Ansan have been preserved the way they were since the Sewol sank, but controversy has arisen, as other parents at the school believe the classrooms should be put back into use.
The school, parents and the bereaved families decided on temporarily reproducing the classrooms’ settings with the original furnishings in an auditorium building at Ansan Office of Education by April 16, the second anniversary of the disaster.
The replicas will be then moved to a memorial center expected to be established by 2019.