View Full Version : South Korean Ferry Disaster

2014-Apr-18, 02:32 PM
As you almost certainly know, the ferry MS Sewol has capsized and sunk, and a large number of people, mostly high school students are missing. Wikipedia link. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_South_Korean_ferry_capsizing)

The parallels with the Costa Concordia disaster are quite stunning: Apparently off course, struck a rock (or something), poor response (at best) by the captain and crew. All made worse by deeper water and a more remote location. Hoaxers are apparently making fake phone calls and texts from those trapped within the vessel. I travel on Washington State Ferries on a regular basis, and may well do so again today. This makes me just a tad nervous about the whole procedure!

One of my first thoughts was that this might be some sort of foul play by the North Koreans. That's probably not the case.

ETA: Now that I've re-read the Wiki article, the cause is being given as a sudden turn causing shifting of cargo. I expect that'll be modified over time as salvage operations proceed.

2014-Apr-18, 03:38 PM
According to news reports, an arrest warrant has been issued for the captain.

2014-Apr-18, 03:41 PM
The vice-principal of the school, who was rescued, has committed suicide. It just gets sadder and sadder.

2014-Apr-18, 07:04 PM
ETA: Now that I've re-read the Wiki article, the cause is being given as a sudden turn causing shifting of cargo. I expect that'll be modified over time as salvage operations proceed.

Oh, that made me remember what other capsizing the story reminded me of. I had been thinking about which other ship it was that was diagonal in the water for half an hour before they evacuated. It's been on the tip of my brain all day and has been bothering me. Thanks.
(For the record, it was the Vasa. The latest theory also involves shifting of cargo.)

Terrible disaster. I guess the evil April week isn't over yet... :(

2014-Apr-20, 12:21 PM
You may also have been thinking of the Mary Rose http://www.maryrose.org/
Or the Spirit of Free Enterprise http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MS_Herald_of_Free_Enterprise

Both of those, and the Costa Concordia capsised and ended on the bottom in that attitude. The Sewol inverted before sinking, so the forensics of the cause may be more difficult still.

As well as the decision by the Captain not to order evacuation, I am intrigued by the failure to launch any lifeboats. This was true of the Costa and it is almost impossible from any ship that is capsising. Marine designers need to consider alternative means, instead of lowering them vertically by ropes. Naval vessels have inflatable rafts that can be projected from the ship, to which those who jump into the sea may resort, aircraft have inflatable chutes to carry passengers away and out, oil rigs have enclosed lifeboats that are launched by chute, again out and away from the platform. Why are these not implemented on passenger ships, especially Ro-Ro ferries that are prone to sudden capsise?


2014-Apr-20, 12:36 PM
Truly, a heart breaking event. I was watching the news with my kids and they asked how that could happen. Sadly, that is the big question.

2014-Apr-21, 04:56 PM
There seems to be a lot of questions about the actions of the Captain and crew, but one crew member gave her life helping others.

CNN.com (http://edition.cnn.com/2014/04/21/world/asia/young-sewol-crew-member/index.html?hpt=hp_c1)

The number of crew members charged is rising, and so is the anger that families feel.

But there's one crew member they are leaving out: Park Jee Young, 22, who by witness accounts helped them escape and distributed life jackets -- one after the other to students -- as the stricken ferry began to sink.

When she ran out of jackets, she ran to the next floor to grab more.

When she was asked why she wasn't wearing a life jacket, Park said that crew members would be last and that she had to help others first, according to witness accounts to South Korean media.

Park now lies in a funeral home in the city of Incheon.

2014-Apr-23, 02:53 PM
In a report I saw today, the ferry was carrying 3 times its maximum capacity which included containers. Apparently the containers were not secured because when the ferry turned "quickly" the load shifted causing the ship to tilt and eventually sink.

If this isn't an example of. . . ?

I'm not even sure.

2014-Apr-23, 04:39 PM
If you are going to retail stories like that, then you should give your source.
Who said it and where?
Then we can judge the value of that rumour, else it is just that or worse, tittle-tattle.


2014-Apr-23, 06:19 PM
If you are going to retail stories like that, then you should give your source.
I agree, but as long as megrfl didn't expand on that, I am comfortable with a statement of "I heard".

But; It is in the news:
Sunken Ship Was Overloaded, Prosecutors Allege (http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/south-korea-ferry-disaster/south-korea-ferry-sunken-ship-was-overloaded-prosecutors-allege-n87566)
It says 3 times the weight in cargo. So now the question is what they consider cargo and what percent of the load is cargo.

If I were on the ferry, I wouldn't want to be called "cargo".

2014-Apr-24, 04:47 PM
The President of South Korea said that the Captain and Crew were no better than murderers.
That is a gross misuse of freedom of speech, in the mouth of one so high in that country, and a serious challenge to Justice, and the assumption of innocence.
I would judge that it is now impossible for the mariners to have a fair trial in The Republic of South Korea.

And I would class statements smearing the ferry owners, in the same category. That statement came from another politician, quoting "prosecutors", who if they really are willing to give politicians such information are in dereliction of duty.


2014-Apr-25, 02:27 AM
It's not the first time that disaster has come from a severely overloaded ferry . Top-heavy and overloaded is no way to go to sea. Really.

2014-Apr-25, 08:11 AM
True, danscope, but while drunk drivers cause accidents, not all accidents are caused by drink.
Previous major capsizes, that we have referenced before, have not been due to overloading but to other causes such as poor navigation and the design of 'roro' ferries.

It is a weakness of our media, that they constantly speculate on the causation of disasters, long before any meaningful investigation can occur. Investigative authorities are put under enormous pressure to say what they know, when that knowledge is partial and circumstantial, or to make arrests without proper evidence. This "entitles" everyone to do speculate, as you are doing, but to do useful purpose. Better to allow, and press for completion of a proper case.

If the media have uncovered evidence of overloading, then they should tell us, and the investigators, as they will have very many other lines of enquiry and this may not be high on their list at this time. And it is right that the media should represent us to ensure a fair and complete case is brought in good time. But speculation, constant unfounded and evidence-free speculation is a drain on the time of those whose job it is to investigate.


2014-Apr-25, 04:10 PM
Multiple safety problems have now been found on the Sewol's sister ship:

On Friday, investigators checked out the Sewol's sister ship, the Ohamana, and said they found 40 of its life rafts weren't working, emergency slides to help evacuate passengers were inoperable and equipment to tie down cars and cargo either was nonexistent or didn't work very well.

From CNN, here. (http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/25/world/asia/south-korea-ship-sinking/) (Annoying autoplay video warning applies.)

ETA: I've seen a report on TV that the according to the manifest provided by the shipping company, the ship was carrying three times the cargo it was rated for. Can't find that on the web, however.

2014-Apr-25, 05:05 PM
ETA: I've seen a report on TV that the according to the manifest provided by the shipping company, the ship was carrying three times the cargo it was rated for. Can't find that on the web, however.
Why don't you look back 5 posts. ;)

Since I commented on questioning exactly what was 3x, I also was hearing about how this added deck may have contributed to the situation.

CNN had an interview with an expert (http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/bestoftv/2014/04/23/exp-erin-sot-roden-south-korea-ferry-stability.cnn&iid=article_sidebar&video_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnn.com%2F2014%2F0 4%2F25%2Fworld%2Fasia%2Fsouth-korea-ship-sinking%2Findex.html%3Fhpt%3Dhp_t1#/video/bestoftv/2014/04/23/exp-erin-sot-roden-south-korea-ferry-stability.cnn) that talked about weight distribution.
180 tons for the new deck, and probably more because people and stuff occupying it.

(geesh.. over 2 minutes into the interview before they even said "center of gravity". Instead we get a stupid rocking chair analogy)

2014-Apr-25, 05:55 PM
Why don't you look back 5 posts. ;)


2014-Apr-26, 06:26 PM
I also was hearing about how this added deck may have contributed to the situation

More on that:

"The Korean operator bought the 20-year-old Japanese ferry in 2012 and added another deck during a four-month renovation, raising the total capacity of passengers from 840 to 956.The new design also added about 239 tons to its original form, raising questions about its possible effect in keeping the boat balanced....The 110-ton Seohae ferry in 1993 was apparently thrown off balance after adding another 10 tons of cargo."

"in many cases, vehicles are not chained to the deck — making them moving objects in the event of a disaster....MM&P officer-members and other U.S. unionized mariners are shut out of the cruise ship industry,” says Staples. “Americans seek commensurate wages and benefits and reasonable work shifts. Whereas foreigners, especially, crewmembers and servants from undeveloped nations, are willing to accept less — and are treated, in many respects, like indentured servants aboard cruise ships where they live in cramped quarters and go months at a time without shore leave.”

The owner is--of-course--a billionaire.

You buy cheap--you get cheap.

Worse, this owner (Yoo Byung-eun) already had deaths on his watch..."In 1987, he was a religious cult leader. More than 30 people from his group were found dead, bound and gagged in a factory outside of Seoul."
Donald Trump would like him.

2014-May-06, 01:51 PM
A diver has now died during the recovery effort. Link (http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/06/world/asia/south-korea-ship-sinking/).

2014-May-06, 03:52 PM
According to today's CNN article (http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/06/world/asia/south-korea-ship-sinking/index.html?hpt=hp_t2):

...the joint police and prosecuting team investigating the disaster said Tuesday. This is the first time South Korean investigators said what they believed led to the April 16 capsizing and sinking, which killed at least 267 people.

Two weeks ago we were talking about that and I provided a link (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?150695-South-Korean-Ferry-Disaster&p=2209526#post2209526) that says "the prosecutor alleges".

Is "alleges" different than "said", is the prosecutor not on the prosecution team?
In other words, somebody said something and CNN has to find a way to make it into news.