Sunday 4 December 2016

South Korean ferry firm boss jailed for seven years over sinking tragedy

Published 29/10/2015 | 06:33

Relatives of victims of the sinking of the ferry Sewol weep as they stand on the deck of a boat during a visit to the site where the ferry sank off the coast of South Korea's southern island of Jindo Wednesday, April 15, 2015. (Ed Jones/Pool Photo via AP)
Relatives of victims of the sinking of the ferry Sewol weep as they stand on the deck of a boat during a visit to the site where the ferry sank off the coast of South Korea's southern island of Jindo Wednesday, April 15, 2015. (Ed Jones/Pool Photo via AP)
Family members of passengers aboard the sunken ferry Sewol and their supporters protest to demand maximum punishment for crew members (AP)

The head of a ferry operator was sentenced to seven years in prison in South Korea's highest court over a ship sinking that killed more than 300 people.

  • Go To

The Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that sentenced Kim Han-sik, president of Chonghaejin Marine Co, on charges including manslaughter.

The court found Kim responsible for failing to prevent the overloading of cargo and improper storage on the ship that judges said contributed to the sinking.

Four other Chonghaejin officials were sentenced to two-and-a-half to four years in prison on similar charges.

The Sewol sank in waters off the southern coast of South Korea in April (AP)
The Sewol sank in waters off the southern coast of South Korea in April (AP)
The sinking of the ferry Sewol has sparked widespread protests across South Korea about transport safety (AP)

A total of 304 people died when the ferry Sewol sank off South Korea's south-west coast in April last year in one of the country's deadliest maritime disaster in decades. Most of the victims were teenagers from a single school.

Divers recovered 295 bodies from the wreckage before the government stopped underwater searches last year. Nine victims remain missing.

The Supreme Court could not confirm when it will be able to make a verdict on Sewol captain Lee Joon-seok, who appealed after a regional high court convicted him of homicide and sentenced him to life in prison in April.

The Gwangju High Court ruled that Lee committed "homicide by wilful negligence" because he fled the ship without making any evacuation order, though he, as a captain, is required by law to take some measures to rescue his passengers.

Lee Joon-seok, the captain of the South Korean ferry Sewol, arrives at court (AP)
Lee Joon-seok, the captain of the South Korean ferry Sewol, arrives at court (AP)
Family members of passengers who died on the sunken ferry Sewol outside a pre-trial hearing for crew members (AP)
Lee Joon-seok, the captain of the sunken South Korean ferry Sewol, at Gwangju High Court (AP)

South Korea is now paying £48.5m to a consortium led by China's state-run Shanghai Salvage Co to handle the difficult and potentially dangerous operation of salvaging the 6,800-ton Sewol.

The government expects the ship to be raised by around July next year.

The relatives of the ferry victims hope that raising the ship will reveal details about the cause of the sinking and help find the bodies of nine passengers still missing.

Press Association

Read More

Promoted articles

Editors Choice

Also in World News