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Old 11-11-2014, 03:10   #1
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Korean Ferry Crew Sentenced

The operators of the South Korean ferry that sank in April have now been sentenced :

Captain: 36 years
Chief engineer: 30 years
13 crew: up to 20 years
Ferry company's owner found dead before any charges laid.

BBC News - Sewol trial: Ferry captain sentenced to 36 years in jail

The ferry was possibly overladen and cargo not well secured. An awful tragedy, but how much responsibility and blame should be directly put on crew members?
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Old 11-11-2014, 03:46   #2
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Re: Korean Ferry Crew Sentenced

It is the crews job to protect the passengers. They had almost 2 1/2 hours to help the people on board. Some of the crew were drinking beer while the ship was in danger. The Cap't and some of his mates where over the side while they had instructed passengers to remain in their cabins???

Company officials, and some government officials should be in jail with the crew. Everyone knew this ship was top heavy after the conversion it went through.

Not enough people were jailed in my opinion.
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Old 11-11-2014, 18:20   #3
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Re: Korean Ferry Crew Sentenced

SeaworthyLass,

It seems to me that the crew who were convicted are to some extent being scapegoated by the bureaucracy that allowed the illegal modifications to the ship/ferry. IMO, they, too, should be held to account. And that Mr. Yoo, good grief, what a piece of work!

Finally, the loss of 300 16 and 17 yr. old students is a terrible tragedy for the families involved; imagine their grief and horror.

3 of the crew died in attempts to save passengers. Three of how many? What percentage tried to help the pax? Why did not all the crew try to help?

I really don't know the rules in Korea, but I would hope their legal eagles go after the bureaucrats for their equivalent of "criminal negligence."

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Old 12-11-2014, 00:09   #4
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Re: Korean Ferry Crew Sentenced

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
SeaworthyLass,

It seems to me that the crew who were convicted are to some extent being scapegoated by the bureaucracy that allowed the illegal modifications to the ship/ferry. IMO, they, too, should be held to account. And that Mr. Yoo, good grief, what a piece of work!

Finally, the loss of 300 16 and 17 yr. old students is a terrible tragedy for the families involved; imagine their grief and horror.

3 of the crew died in attempts to save passengers. Three of how many? What percentage tried to help the pax? Why did not all the crew try to help?

I really don't know the rules in Korea, but I would hope their legal eagles go after the bureaucrats for their equivalent of "criminal negligence."

Ann
I have not been able to find what the 13 crew were convicted for exactly. The loss of life was tragic, but blaming and sentencing lower ranking crew for this accident seems extremely harsh. I would think it most likely they had either been following orders or were poorly trained in dealing with an emergency like this.

The company running the ferry operation were responsible for boat modifications and overloading and they don't seem to have been punished at all.

Perhaps someone running commercial operations can answer this: are lower ranking crew informed of their liabilities in case of a vessel sinking?
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Old 12-11-2014, 15:11   #5
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Re: Korean Ferry Crew Sentenced

I can't see even the discussion. Over loading seems to be the norm. in that part of the world. Maybe the government should be blamed. Without any regulation, the crew Capt. down, are just trying to make a buck and stay employed. What does even the Capt. say, No more passengers? OK, look for a job.

They probably don't want to be on a boat that has a neg. GM, top heavy.
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Old 12-11-2014, 18:03   #6
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Re: Korean Ferry Crew Sentenced

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Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
............... The ferry was possibly overladen and cargo not well secured. An awful tragedy, but how much responsibility and blame should be directly put on crew members?
The Asian culture is far more oriented towards personal responsibility than western culture. The owner killed himself over the incident.

By western standards the crew received pretty harsh sentences.
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Old 12-11-2014, 18:44   #7
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Re: Korean Ferry Crew Sentenced

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Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
Perhaps someone running commercial operations can answer this: are lower ranking crew informed of their liabilities in case of a vessel sinking?

Any well run shipping company will have a "Document of Compliance" and their ships will each have a "Safety Management Certificate" which should indicate that the operation is in compliance with the IMO Safety Management Code.
Amongst other things, all crew must be fully aware of their responsibilities, both in normal and emergency situations.
I have never seen anything in writing from a company to lower rank crew what they could become liable for.
In the case of the Sewol, I think it has been the case of the Korean government trying to distract from their own culpability.

Look at the Concordia case, it was only the senior officers on the bridge, and the bridge watchkeeper who were prosecuted.
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Old 13-11-2014, 00:33   #8
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Re: Korean Ferry Crew Sentenced

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Originally Posted by nigel1 View Post
Any well run shipping company will have a "Document of Compliance" and their ships will each have a "Safety Management Certificate" which should indicate that the operation is in compliance with the IMO Safety Management Code.
Amongst other things, all crew must be fully aware of their responsibilities, both in normal and emergency situations.
I have never seen anything in writing from a company to lower rank crew what they could become liable for.
In the case of the Sewol, I think it has been the case of the Korean government trying to distract from their own culpability.

Look at the Concordia case, it was only the senior officers on the bridge, and the bridge watchkeeper who were prosecuted.
In the Concordia case it was pretty much a given that the old man stuffed up (no overloading or systems problems). This case (without seeing English transcripts of the courtcase) could be a bit muddied. Is the captain expected to count all passengers? Weigh all freight?
Beng involved in coastal shipping in a developing nation I am well aware of the pitfalls for all concerned and yes, I would generally put some measure of blame on the owner and some on the government "safety inspectors".
We have just finished a report into a vessel foundering here with fortunately only 4 lives lost. I was a witness in the inquiry so will be interested to see if/when the report is released. I trust the team who conducted the inquiry. Do I trust the government to make public the report and initiate recommended improvements?
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Old 13-11-2014, 00:56   #9
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Re: Korean Ferry Crew Sentenced

Yeah, but, No Ties,

I don't think it's just Asia. It is (to me) that the very powerful and the very wealthy are very hard to call to account for their behaviors. And we can't write about this, here, because politics is verboten, and it has little to do with cruising, except that as a cruiser, it is an aspect of life of which one must be aware.

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Old 13-11-2014, 01:42   #10
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Re: Korean Ferry Crew Sentenced

You're right Anne, I was simply showing the angle of crew culpability. I have seen it time and again where the crew have overloaded the ship without the owner's knowledge (and believe me, the owner was pretty pissed when he discovered what happened). The experiences I have had are best case scenarios, I won't accept clients in coastal shipping who I feel are dodgy so I haven't been privy to the worst case. (because they are dodgy owners)
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Old 14-11-2014, 04:43   #11
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Re: Korean Ferry Crew Sentenced

No Captain or crew wake up in the morning and decide to sink their ship and kill loads of passengers. It seems overloading and the ships reduced stability due to modifications conspired in this tragedy. The Captain and maybe senior crew deserved punishment but not 36years in Jail. 3-5 years might be more appropriate in my view. No matter what the punishment, Nothing can ease the suffering, or compensate the families and friends of the dead.
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Old 14-11-2014, 19:32   #12
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Re: Korean Ferry Crew Sentenced

These hefty sentences seem to be becoming the norm, the company uses the crew as scape goats.
Somebody mentioned on the Costa Concordia, that only the wheelsman amongst the crew was sentenced. He got a fairly hefty sentence too. A wheelsman is very rarely put in a position where he will still have a lively hood if he refuses a helm order from the Captain.
Doesn't make any sense to me. And 36 years for the Captain in Korea just seems insane. Most people when they make a mistake at work have to throw out the soup and start over, or at the very worst get fired. 36 years is an insane sentence for a mistake, even with such serious consequences.
No doubt there was an SMS in place that the Captain played lip service too. But if it was a company that regularly over loaded there boats, if the Captain had stood up to it, the company would have found another Captain who wouldn't, and the first captain would have been driving a taxi cab. Terrible tragedy, but they locked up the wrong people.

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Old 14-11-2014, 19:50   #13
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Re: Korean Ferry Crew Sentenced

The families of the children were expecting the death penalty. Does seem a bit harsh, but I do believe the crew did very little to assist in saving lives.
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Old 20-11-2014, 05:18   #14
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Re: Korean Ferry Crew Sentenced

The president of Chonghaejin Marine, Kim Han-sik, has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for criminal negligence. The court also sentenced other executives of the firm to three to six years in prison for negligence and embezzlement.
BBC News - Sewol ferry firm head imprisoned for 10 years
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Old 20-11-2014, 09:34   #15
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Re: Korean Ferry Crew Sentenced

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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
The president of Chonghaejin Marine, Kim Han-sik, has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for criminal negligence. The court also sentenced other executives of the firm to three to six years in prison for negligence and embezzlement.
BBC News - Sewol ferry firm head imprisoned for 10 years
That's for the info.. I'm glad to hear some of the responsibility was placed at the corp. level.
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