Sunken ferry Sewol Update: 185 confirmed victims, safety concerns about sister ship

By Accidents

Ten days after the deadly sinking of Sewol, the number of confirmed victims is 185, 117 are still missing, no survivour has been found since April 16. The South Korean government has mobilized all available resources in the search operations. Major part of the operations are still focused on third and fourth-floor cabins. 

According to a senior Coats Guard official, Koh Myung-suk, the USNS Safeguard, diving and recovery vessel from the U.S. 7th Fleet, is on its way to the scene and is expected to arrive at 3 am on Saturday.

The vessel will support the recovery operations and will be position as a precautionary measure. The search operation is under the command of the minister of oceans and fisheries, Lee Ju-young, and the chief of the Coast Guard, Kim Suk-kyoon.  

Investigators have inspected a sister vessel of the sunken ferry. They have found multiple safety concerns on board ferry Ohamana owned and operated by the same company as Sewol - Chonghaejin Marine. The Ohamana has been examined by Mokpo Joint Investigation Force Headquarters and found major issues such as:

  • 40 non-working life rafts
  • Non-operational emergency slides
  • Lack of equipment for tying down vehicles
  • The container tying down equipment did not work properly 

Ohamana had been modified similar to Sewol – her passenger capacity had been extended. She usually operates the route Incheon - Jeju three times per week. According to the South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, Ohamana suspended her service right after the tragic accident. 

Current position of Ohamana.

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