Sinking of the MV Sewol

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Sinking of the MV Sewol
세월호 침몰 사고
Sinking of the MV Sewol is located in South Korea
Sinking location
Sinking location
Point of departureIncheon  
Point of departure
DestinationJeju City  
Jeju City  
Sinking of the MV Sewol (South Korea)
Date 16 April 2014 (2014-04-16)
Location 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) off Donggeochado,[1] Jindo County, South Jeolla Province
Coordinates 34°13′5″N 125°57′0″E / 34.21806°N 125.95000°E / 34.21806; 125.95000Coordinates: 34°13′5″N 125°57′0″E / 34.21806°N 125.95000°E / 34.21806; 125.95000

294 on-board[2]
1 navy sailor[3]
2 civilian divers[4]

5 emergency workers[5]
Missing 10[2]
Inquest At least 2 ongoing
Suspect(s) 12 Crew
Charges 12 Crew
Litigation Ongoing
On board 476 (mostly students from Danwon High School)[6][7]
Survivors 172[8] (171 excluding the subsequent suicide of the vice principal of Danwon High School)

The sinking of the MV Sewol (Korean: 세월호 침몰 사고; Hanja: 世越號沉沒事故)[9] occurred on 16 April 2014 en route from Incheon to Jeju. The Japanese-built South Korean ferry capsized while carrying 476 people, mostly secondary school students from Danwon High School (Ansan City).[10] The 6,825-ton vessel sent a distress signal from about 2.7 kilometres (1.7 mi) north off Byeongpungdo at 08:58 Korea Standard Time (23:58 UTC, 15 April 2014).[11] Around 300 people died in the disaster.[12] Of the approximate 172 survivors, many were rescued by fishing boats and other commercial vessels, which were first on the scene before the arrival approximately 30 minutes later of the South Korean coast guard and ROK Navy ships, backed by helicopters.[13][14] There are ongoing recovery efforts by the South Korean government, the United States Navy, civilian groups, and individuals.

The sinking of the Sewol has resulted in widespread social and political reaction within South Korea, ranging from criticism of the actions of the captain and most of the crew of the ferry,[15] to criticism of the ferry operator and the regulators who oversaw its operations,[16] to criticism of the South Korean government and media for its disaster response and attempts to downplay government culpability.[17] On 15 May 2014, the captain and 3 crew members were charged with murder, while the other 11 members of the crew were indicted for abandoning the ship.[18] An arrest warrant was also issued for Yoo Byung-eun, the owner of Chonghaejin Marine, which operated the Sewol, but he could not be found despite a nationwide manhunt. On 22 July 2014, police revealed that they had established that a dead man found in a field 415 kilometres south of Seoul was Yoo. Foul play was ruled out, but police said they had yet to establish the cause of Yoo's death.[12]


MV Sewol
Ferry Sewol 1.jpg
MV Sewol at Incheon in March 2014
Name: Ferry Naminoue (1994–2012)
Sewol (2013–2014)
Owner: Oshima Unyu, Kagoshima, Japan (1994–2007)
A-Line Ferry Company, Kagoshima, Japan (2007–2012)
Chonghaejin Marine Co., Ltd., Incheon, South Korea (2012–2014)
Port of registry: Naze, Japan (1994–2012)
Incheon, South Korea (2012–2014)
Builder: Hayashikane Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd., Nagasaki, Japan
Yard number: 1006
Launched: 13 April 1994
Completed: June 1994
Identification: IMO number: 9105205
Fate: Capsized and sank on 16 April 2014
General characteristics
Type: RoPax ferry
Tonnage: 6,835 GT
3,794 DWT
Length: 145.61 m (477 ft 9 in)
Beam: 22.00 m (72 ft 2 in)
Draught: 6.26 m (20 ft 6 in)
Depth: 14.00 m (45 ft 11 in)
Installed power: 2 × Diesel United-Pielstick 12PC2-6V-400
11,912 kW (15,974 hp) (combined)
Propulsion: Two shafts; fixed pitch propellers
Bow and stern thrusters
Speed: 21.5 knots (39.8 km/h; 24.7 mph)
Capacity: As Sewol: 921 passengers, 88 cars, 60 8-ton trucks
As Ferry Naminoue: 804 passengers, 90 cars, and 60 trucks
Crew: 35

The Sewol[edit]

MV Sewol (Korean: 세월호, Hanja: 世越號, Beyond the world[19][note 1]) was built by the Japanese company Hayashikane Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd. (Japanese: 林兼船渠) in 1994.[20] At 146 m (479 ft) in length[21] and 22 m (72 ft) in width,[22] she could carry 921 passengers,[23] or a total of 956 persons, including the crew.[24] She had a legal capacity for 180 vehicles and 154 regular cargo containers.[25] The maximum speed of the ship was 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph).[26]

The Sewol was originally known as the Ferry Naminoue (Japanese: フェリーなみのうえ)[27] between 1994 and 2012, and had been operated in Japan for almost 18 years without any accidents.[20] In 2012, the ship was later bought for 11.6 billion (US$11.3 million) by Chonghaejin Marine Company,[28] renamed Sewol, and refurbished.[29] Modifications included adding extra passenger cabins on the third, fourth, and fifth decks, raising the passenger capacity by 117, and increasing the weight of the ship by 239 tons.[30][31] After regulatory and safety checks by the Korean Register of Shipping,[29] the ship began her operation in South Korea on 15 March 2013.[32] The ship made three round-trips every week from Incheon to Jeju.[33] Two months before the sinking, it was reported that Sewol again passed a vessel safety inspection by the South Korean Coast Guard following an intermediate survey to ensure the ship remained in a general condition which satisfied requirements set by the Korean Register of Shipping.[34] The South Korea government's Board of Audit and Inspection revealed that the Korean Register's licensing was based on falsified documents.[35]


There was initial confusion about the number of passengers. Chonghaejin Marine declared in the departure report that 450 passengers and 24 crew members were on board.[36] Secondary reports placed the number anywhere between 350[37] and 500.[38] Right after the incident, the Ministry of Security and Public Administration vice-minister, Lee Gyeon-og, stated that there were 459 people aboard: 30 crew members, 325 high school students from Danwon High School, 15 school teachers and 89 non-student passengers.[6] Chonghaejin Marine was also inconsistent but settled the number at 475.[36]

On 18 April, the government confirmed the number to be 476.[39] News organizations such as JoongAng Ilbo[40] and CNN has confirmed the figure.[41]


The initial number of crew members was reported to be 29 but was later confirmed to be 33.[42]


Ocean temperatures in the area where the ship capsized were around 12 °C (54 °F); at that temperature the time before the onset of hypothermia is approximately 90 minutes.[43]


Sailing route, Position[44]

The ship departed Incheon on 9 p.m. of 15 April after a two-and-a-half-hour fog delay.[45] The frequently-traveled 400-kilometre (250 mi) route from Incheon to Jeju usually took 13.5 hours.[46] The vessel did not deviate from previous routes.[47]

The capsizing began about 25 kilometres (16 mi) off the southwest coast.[48] From 8:48 to 8:49 am (KST), there was a 36-second power outage.[49] One minute after the blackout, the ship made a 45-degree turn[50] and began drifting sideways.[51] Soon afterwards, the ship began to take on water.[51][52] The sinking has been attributed to making the sharp turn,[53] being overloaded, having unsecured cargo, and being affected by past renovations.[54] A passenger later testified that lights went out after the ferry started listing.[55] Passengers reported feeling a tilt of the ship and hearing a loud 'bang.'[56]

Near the time of the accident, the ship was navigating a channel.[57] Conditions were calm and the area did not contain rocks or reefs.[46] However, the area has been described as 'treacherous.'[57][58]

At the time of the accident, the captain was in his private cabin[59] and the third mate was at the helm.[60] The captain is reported to have returned to the bridge and attempted to re-balance the ship immediately after the accident.[46] At 8:52,[note 2] Choi Duk-ha, a student,[61] called the national emergency service number and was connected to the Jeollanam-do fire station and reported that the ship was capsizing.[62] Choi was connected to the Mokpo coast guard and talked for 6 minutes.[63][note 3] At 8:55 a.m., the ferry established contact with the Jeju vessel traffic service and asked the Jeju VTS to notify the coast guard that the ship was rolling and in danger.[64] At 8:56 a.m., the Jeju VTS called the Jeju Coast Guard.[65] At 8:58 a.m., the Mokpo Coast Guard dispatched a patrol vessel as a response to Choi's call.[65] During this time, the captain told passengers to stay in their rooms.[66] The communications officer, using the ship's intercom, repeatedly ordered passengers not to move.[56][67]

On 9:07 am, the ship began communicating with the Jindo VTS, which was closer to her location.[68] At this point, the crew confirmed to VTS that the ferry was capsizing. At 9:14 a.m., the crew stated that the ship's angle of heel made evacuation impossible. At 9:18 a.m., the crew reported that the ferry had heeled more than 50 degrees to port.[69] The heeling was later confirmed by the Central Disaster Countermeasure Headquarters (중앙재난안전대책본부 or 중앙재난대책안전본부).[70] At 9:23 a.m., VTS ordered the crew to inform the passengers to wear personal flotation devices. When the crew replied that the broadcasting equipment was out of order, VTS told them to personally order the passengers to wear life jackets and more clothing.[69] At 9:25 a.m., VTS asked the captain to decide quickly whether to evacuate the ship, stating that VTS did not have enough information to make the decision. When the captain inquired about the rescue, VTS replied that patrol boats were due to arrive in 10 minutes and a helicopter in one minute. The captain then replied that there were too many passengers for the helicopter.[69]

Around 9:30 a.m., the captain gave orders to evacuate the ship, though the order may not have been relayed to all the passengers.[71] At 9:33 a.m., after confirming that nearby ships had volunteered to help in the rescue operations, VTS told all ships to drop lifeboats for the passengers. At 9:38 a.m., all communications were cut off between VTS and the ferry. About three minutes after all communications were cut, about 150 to 160 passengers and crew jumped overboard.[69]

The captain of the Sewol, Lee Joon-seok, was rescued by a ROK Coast guard cutter with other bridge's personnel while the vessel had reached a list of near 60 degrees. A video of him being rescued was later released by the ROK Coast Guard.[72][73][74]

By around 11:18 a.m., the bow of the ship was submerged, with a section of the hull about 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) high and 20 to 30 metres (66 to 98 ft) long showing above the water. At 9:00 a.m. on 18 April, only 50 centimetres (20 in) of the bulbous bow was above water.[75] As of 1:03 p.m., the ship was completely submerged.[76]

Inside the Sewol[edit]

During the sinking, a teenage victim recorded a video clip inside the ship.[77] At first, the teenagers were joking, but soon they became suspicious and confused. Passengers talked to one another, trying to reassure and inform each other of the situation. The cell phone recorded the announcement, "Do not move from your present location and please stay."[78] The clip also recorded one passenger saying, "What's the captain doing?".[78]

Text messages, KakaoTalk mobile messages, and photos are believed to have been sent by the passengers and crew as the ship sank. The last KakaoTalk message was sent on 10:17 a.m.[79] Text messages allegedly sent by the passengers of the ship initially circulated in the media,[80] but an investigation by the Cyber Terror Response Center found that passengers did not use their phones between 12:00 p.m. of 16 April and 10:00 a.m. of 17 April[81] and that most of the circulating messages were fake.[82]


Direct causes[edit]

As of 17 April, the ROK Coast Guard has concluded that an "unreasonably sudden turn" to starboard,[53] made between 8:48 and 8:49 a.m. (KST),[71] was the cause of the capsizing.[53] According to the Coast Guard, the sudden turn caused the cargo to shift to the left, causing the ship to experience an incline and to eventually become unmanageable for the crew.[53] The existence of the sudden turn has been confirmed by the analysis of the ship's Automatic Identification System data.[83] The crew of the ferry has agreed that the main cause was the sudden turn.[84] Experts such as Lee Sang-yun (Korean: 이상윤), a professor and head of the environment/maritime technology institute of the Pukyong National University, have also agreed.[85]

Overloading and not properly securing cargo are also being seen as direct causes.[86] The MV Sewol was carrying 3,608 tons of cargo, more than three times the limit of 987 tons.[87] The overloading was also previously noted by an off-duty captain and the first mate.[88] Lee Sang-yun has also proposed overloading as a cause.[89] According to the off-duty captain of the Sewol, the ship owners ignored his warning that the ship should not carry so much cargo because she would not be stable.[90]

The Sewol was carrying only 580 tons of ballast water, much less than the recommended 2,030 tons; this would make the vessel more prone to list and capsize.[91] South Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo argued that the discharging of ballast water was a cause of the incident.[92] The crew had reportedly pumped out hundreds of tons of ballast water from the bottom of the ship in order to accommodate the additional cargo.[93]

Secondary causes[edit]

Secondary causes have also affected the capsizing of the ferry by decreasing the restoring force.[94] The crew of the ferry stated that the lack of restoring force was a cause of the disaster.[84] The Prosecution/Police Coalition Investigations Headquarters (검경합동수사본부) is currently investigating secondary causes which could have lessened the ship's restoring force.[95]

Renovations adding extra passenger cabins have been proposed as a main secondary cause by Kim Gill-soo (Korean: 김길수), a professor in the maritime transport technological department at the Korea Maritime University.[96][97] This possible cause has also been supported by the captain,[98] as well as the aforementioned Lee Sang-yun.[85]

Obsolete theories[edit]


Gong Gil-young (Korean: 공길영), a professor of aviation engineering in the Korea Maritime University, has commented that the sudden turn was simply the 'first cause' and that there were secondary causes to the incident. He advocated an explosion as the most probable secondary cause.[99][100]

Reef collision[edit]

At the beginning of the investigation, the ROK Coast Guard thought that the cause was a collision with a reef, believing this likely because the area was foggy.[101] The captain denied this was the cause of the accident,[102] and a reef collision has been dismissed as a cause by consensus among experts.[103] The theory is also not currently advocated by the Coast Guard.[53]

Rescue operations[edit]

Sewol sinking

First day[edit]

At 8:58 a.m. (KST) on 16 April 2014, units from the ROK Navy were sent to help in the rescue effort.[104] At 9:04 a.m., the Central Disaster Countermeasure Headquarters (중앙재난안전대책본부 or 중앙재난대책안전본부) was created by the government of South Korea. At 9:10 a.m., a rescue operations headquarters was set up in the South Korean Coast Guard.[105] At 9:35 a.m., The Korean Ministry of National Defense started operating Counter-disaster Headquarters (재난대책본부).[106] At 9:40 a.m., the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries declared the accident to be the highest state of emergency in terms of naval accidents; consequently, the Central Accident Response Headquarters (중앙사고수습본부) was established.[107] At the same time, the Ministry of Health and Welfare sent emergency vehicles and the first squad of the Disaster Medical Support Team (재난의료지원팀) to Jindo.[108] At 11:28 a.m., the Korea Navy's Ship Salvage Unit (SSU) was reported to have been deployed for the operations.[109]

At 2:42 p.m., 150 special forces personnel from the ROK Army Special Warfare Command, including 40 scuba divers, were sent for the operation. At this point, 196 personnel, including 82 in the SSU and 114 in the ROK Naval Special Warfare Flotilla were involved in the operations.[110] On 3:07, the regional government of the Gyeonggi Province was reported to have started operating the Prevention and Countermeasures Headquarters (재난안전대책본부).[111] After 5 p.m., units from the SSU began undersea operations.[112] At 5:13, the Gyeonggi-do Office of Education was reported to have started operating the Ansan Danwon High School Accident Countermeasures Report Compiling Headquarters (안산 단원고 사고대책 종합상황본부).[113] At 8:00, operations investigating the ship's hull was ceased.[114]

As of 22:03, the following units were involved in rescue operations: Naval forces include sailors from the 3rd Fleet (제3함대; 第三艦隊), a Dokdo-class amphibious assault ship, a Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin-class destroyer, and an Ulsan-class frigate. The ROK Air Force sent support units such as the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk, and HH-47 variant of the Boeing CH-47 Chinook. The ROK Army sent units including 150 Special Warfare Command soldiers and 11 ambulances.[115]

Second day[edit]

A U.S. Navy MH-60S Seahawk helicopter conducted search and rescue operations at the request of the South Korean navy near where the Sewol sank, on 17 April 2014.

At 0:30 a.m., hull investigations were started by the ROK Coast Guard with the help of flares.[116] As of 6:00 a.m., 171 ships, 29 aircraft and 30 divers were involved in the rescue effort. The Korea Coast Guard had assigned 20 divers in teams of two. The ROK Navy had also assigned 8 divers.[117] At 7:24 a.m., civilian groups of expert divers were reported to be helping out in the rescue operations.[118] Starting around 2:00 p.m., rescue operations were practically stopped due to bad weather conditions.[119] By 3:32 p.m., the number of divers had increased to 55.[120][121]

Subsequent operations[edit]

At 3:00 a.m. on 18 April, cranes began arriving on the accident scene.[122] At 10:05 a.m., divers had entered the capsized ship's hull despite strong tides, darkness and presence of silt in water, but they could not reach the passenger area.[123][124][125] At 10:50 a.m., the ROK Coast Guard began pumping in air to support possible air pockets.[67][123] The divers' entrance was later labeled a 'failure' by the Central Disaster Countermeasure Headquarters.[126]

On 19 April, 5:40 a.m. three bodies were recovered by divers, the first from the passenger cabins on the fourth deck of the ship.[127] On 21 April, remotely operated underwater vehicle robots (such as the Crabster) began to be used for operations.[128]

On 6 May, an Undine Marine Industries veteran diver died while searching for bodies at a depth of 25 meters.[129] He became the first victim among scores of mobilized divers at a ferry disaster site.[129][130] In spite of the death, divers continued their searches.[130]

On 17 July, shortly before 11:00 am, a firefighting helicopter crashed in a residential area of Gwangju.[131] The helicopter was returning from a four day search for missing victims. Five firefighters, including two pilots, two rescue workers, and one mechanic were killed in the crash.[132][133] In addition, a student on the ground received a minor injury from flying debris.[131] The helicopter narrowly missed an apartment complex and a school, but did not cause any fatalities on the ground.[133] The cause of the crash was not immediately clear.[134]

Survivors and casualties[edit]

Initial reports stated that rescuers retrieved 368 people from cold waters as the passengers, mostly school students, had jumped overboard when the vessel started sinking, but the South Korean government later corrected this statement, saying 295 passengers remained missing.[135] 22 of the 29 crew survived, including 15 responsible for the navigation.[136]

Early in the rescue efforts, a 27-year-old female crew member was found dead inside the sinking vessel and a male high school student died shortly after arriving at a hospital.[137][138]

In its 17 April morning edition, The Chosun Ilbo reported that 174 people had been rescued, 4 had died, and 284 were missing.[139] According to CNN and its affiliate YTN, six people died.[7] News1 Korea reported that, as of 8:00 a.m. on 17 April 179 people had been rescued, 6 had died and 290 were missing.[117] Three more people were found dead at 11:00 a.m. and the confirmed death toll rose to 9.[140] At 10 p.m., Yonhap news confirmed that the death toll had risen to 14.[141] By the morning of 18 April, the death toll had risen to 28.[142] On 19 April, the death toll rose to 36.[143] By 20 April, the death toll reached 49.[144][145] By 6 May, a diver searching the sunken ferry had died; not including the diver, the death toll in the ferry disaster has risen to 264, with 38 people still missing.[146] By 10 May 2014, the death toll has gone up to 275, with dozens more still missing.[147] By 21 May, the death toll had risen to 288, leaving 16 missing.[148] As of 21 May, the 16 missing were 7 Danwon High School students, 3 Danwon High School teachers, 4 other passengers, and 2 cabin crew members.[149] On 5 and 6 June, one dead passenger and one dead cabin crew member were found, bringing the casualty count to 290, while the number of missing passengers was down to 14.[150][151] By 9 June 2014, a 28-year-old female Danwon High School teacher as well as a 17-year-old male Danwon high school student were found bringing the death toll to 292 and leaving 12 missing.[152][153][154] On 24 June, the body of a female student was recovered bringing the death toll to 293 and lowering the missing to 11, including 5 Danwon High School students.[2] The death toll stands at 294 with 10 missing as of the 22nd July 2014 with the recovery of the last cabin crew member.[155]

The sinking of the Sewol is the worst ferry disaster in South Korea since 14 December 1970, when the sinking of the ferry Namyoung cost 326 people out of 338 their lives.[156][157]

Foreign response[edit]

U.S. Marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit responding to the scene of the Sewol sinking on 16 April 2014.
  • As well as a message of sympathy and condolences from the Japanese government, the Japan Coast Guard offered support. The South Korean Coast Guard declined the offer, saying that, while the offer was welcome, special assistance was not needed on this occasion.[163]


Captain and crew[edit]

On 19 April, the captain of the ferry was arrested on suspicion of negligence of duty, violation of maritime law and other infringements.[164] The captain had abandoned the ship with passengers still aboard the ferry, while South Korean law explicitly requires captains to remain on the ship during a disaster.[165][166][167] Two other crew members, a helmsman and the third mate, were also arrested on that day on suspicion of negligence and manslaughter.[168] By 26 April, twelve further arrests had been made with the whole crew responsible for navigation in detention.[169][170]

On 15 May, Captain Lee Jun-seok, First Mate Kang Won-sik (who was responsible for managing the ship's ballast), Second Mate Kim Young-ho, and Chief Engineer Park Gi-ho were indicted on charges of homicide through gross negligence (also described as murder), which carry a potential death penalty.[93][171][172][173] The other eleven crew members face lesser charges of abandoning the ship and ship safety offences.[18]

Three crew members, Park Ji-Young, Jeong Hyun-seon, and Kim Ki-woong, are credited by survivors with staying aboard the ferry to help passengers escape. All three went down with the sinking vessel.[174]


On 8 May, the chief executive of Chonghaejin Marine, Kim Han-sik, was arrested and is facing charges including causing death by negligence.[175] Four other company officials were also taken into custody.[176]

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries cancelled Chonghaejin Marine's license to operate ferries on the Incheon-Jeju Island route in May 2014.[177]


Yoo Byung-eun, former chairman of Chonghaejin Marine, ignored Incheon District Prosecutors' Office summonses,[178][179][180] and went into hiding.[181][182][183] On 22 May, the Incheon District Court issued an arrest warrant and Korean authorities offered a 50 million (US$48,800) reward for information leading to the arrest of Yoo.[184][185] On 25 May, the reward was raised tenfold to ₩500 million (US$488,000).[186][187] On 21 July 2014, it was reported that a body found in a field in June was believed to be Yoo's.[188]


The disaster raised questions about the regulation of shipping in South Korea. Shipping is regulated by the Korean Shipping Association, which is also an industry trade group, which experts consider a likely conflict of interest. In addition, government regulators outside the Association frequently move to jobs as part of the association after their government service. Yun Jong-hwui, a professor at Korea Maritime and Ocean University notes that while South Korean regulations are strong, they are often poorly enforced.[189]

On 3 June the Gwangju District Court issued arrest warrants for a senior vessel safety operator of the Korea Shipping Association's Incheon unit and a vessel inspector of the Korean Register of Shipping's Mokpo unit.[190]


A memorial wall near the Danwon High School, where most of the victims were from
A memorial ceremony in Hwarang Public Garden, a park near the Danwon High School


In addition to reaction against the actions of the captain and much of the crew of the Sewol ferry,[191] there has been a much wider political reaction to the disaster. Criticism has ranged from anger at the lax regulatory environment which may have contributed to the safety violations that could have sunk the Sewol,[192] to anger about the rescue operations,[193] to anger at Park Geun-hye, the President of South Korea, whose approval ratings have fallen from a high of 71 percent before the disaster to "the 40 percent range" weeks afterwards.[194]

Political reaction to the Sewol sinking has been intensified by a series of events. A prominent South Korean politician from the ruling Saenuri Party, Chung Mong-joon, was forced to apologize when his son wrote a controversial Facebook post criticizing the public for criticizing the government over the disaster.[195] Many parents of the victims of the tragedy have been expressing deep anger at the government, ranging from reportedly berating Prime Minister Jung Hong-won[196] to shouting at President Park Geun-hye,[197] to parents staging protests at the presidential palace itself, partly inflamed by a reported remark by a senior news editor at the government-influenced Korean Broadcasting System that the number of dead in the ferry tragedy was "not many, compared with the number of people killed in traffic accidents each year".[198]

Barack Obama, the President of the United States, sent his condolences, stated that the United States would help in the search for survivors and during a state visit to South Korea, presented a magnolia tree from the White House to the high school.[199][200] Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe offered sympathy to the victims.[201] Truong Tan Sang, the President of Vietnam, as well as the deputy prime minister and the minister of foreign affairs sent their condolences to Yun Byung-se, South Korea's Minister of Foreign Affairs.[202] Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong sent their condolences to the president of South Korea.[203] Xi Jinping, the President of China, sent messages on condolences to Park.[204][205]

On 27 April, Jung Hong-won, the prime minister of South Korea, accepted responsibility and announced his resignation.[206]

On 29 April, South Korean president Park Geun-hye indirectly apologized for the government's response to ferry sinking.[207][208][209]

On 30 April, North Korea sent its condolences.[210]

On 18 May 2014, BBC reported that President Park Geun-hye announced South Korea "plans to break up its coastguard" after failing to respond well during the MV Sewol ferry disaster.[211] According to Park, "investigation and information roles will be transferred to the Korean police while the rescue and salvage operation and ocean security roles will be transferred to the Department for National Safety[212] which will be newly established".[213]


Pope Francis wearing a yellow ribbon on his 2014 state visit to South Korea.

On 17 April, a representative of the Cheonghaejin Marine Company apologized for the incident.[214] The chairman and CEO of Korean Register of Shipping, Chon Young-Kee, resigned on 28 April, following raids on KR offices by South Korean prosecutors.[215]

On 18 April, the rescued vice principal of Danwon High School Kang Min-kyu, 52, committed suicide by hanging himself. Police stated that a note was found in his wallet.[216] He had organized the field trip that had brought the high school party aboard the ship, and Kang had written in his two-page note that "Surviving alone is too painful when 200 lives are unaccounted for ... I take full responsibility."[217][218] The note ended with a request that his body be cremated and the ashes scattered over the site of the accident, "that I might be a teacher in heaven to those kids whose bodies have not been found."[219]

On 22 April, a netizen made a post encouraging others to take part in the 'KakaoTalk yellow ribbon wearing campaign.' The image accompanying the post had a caption stating, 'One small movement, big miracles'.[220][221] Since then, the yellow ribbon has gained meaning to symbolize mourning.[222] The ribbons are prominent in the social media, sometimes as profile photos.[223] Celebrities such as Jo Kwon and Hye-rim Park had joined this movement.[221]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The meaning has been widely, but incorrectly, reported as 'time and tide.'
  2. ^ The South Korean coast guard reported earlier that the first emergency call was made at 8:58 a.m., but that was when the patrol boat was dispatched
  3. ^ Choi was later found dead [1]


  1. ^ "전국]동거차도에서 본 이 시각 구조 현장". 2014-04-22. Retrieved 2014-06-08. "세월호 침몰 사고 해역에서는 한 1.5km 정도 떨어진 곳입니다." 
  2. ^ a b c "Another Sewol-ho ferry victim recovered, eleven still missing". 24 June 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  3. ^ "Death toll from ferry sinking rises to 286". Yonhap News. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "Yonhap News — Search for sunken ferry continues despite diver's death". Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  5. ^ "Sewol ferry search helicopter crash kills 5 in South Korea". Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "South Korea ferry: Scores missing as ship sinks". BBC News. 16 April 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "South Korean shipwreck survivors: Passengers told 'don't move' as ship sank". CNN. 16 April 2014. 
  8. ^ "(3rd LD) All-out efforts to search sunken ferry continue amid weak currents". Yonhap News. 7 May 2014. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  9. ^ "[세월호 참사]세월호 '미스터리'-세모해운의 후신?" [Sewol Disaster: MV Sewol 'Mystery' – Semo Shipping Company's future?]. NEWSis (in Korean). 19 April 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
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    • English Translation by Chosun Ilbo [2]
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    • Translation by NPR here [3]
    • Translation by CNN here [4]
  70. ^ Gi (기), SeungHoon (성훈) (17 April 2014). "[일문일답]"침몰 세월호 내부수색 아직까지 못했다"" [[One question one answer] "Currently, couldn't look inside the capsized Sewol]. Moneytoday News (in Korean) (Moneytoday). Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
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  83. ^ "'세월호' 침몰, 급격한 방향전환이 원인으로 드러나" ['Sewol' capsizing: a sudden turn is revealed to be the cause]. Yonhap News (in Korean). 17 April 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  84. ^ a b "수사세월호 선원들 "변침 실수...복원력 부족했다"" [Investigation: MV Sewol's crew "Mistake with the sudden turn... did not have enough restoring force"] (in Korean). Maeil Broadcasting Network. 22 April 2014. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  85. ^ a b "<여객선침몰> "'과속+유속' 복원력 상실 가능성"" [Ferry Capsizing: 'Acceleration + Velocity' could be a possibility for losing stability] (in Korean). Yonhap News. 17 April 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014. "'과속+유속' 복원력 상실 가능성, 3단계는 이 장애물을 피하기 위해 배를 급격히 선회했다는 것이다" 
  86. ^ "물류팀 처벌 마무리·과적 직접 원인 가능성" [Finished prosecuting the distribution team; Finish and overloading viewed as direct causes] (in Korean). YTN. 4 May 2014. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
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  95. ^ "<세월호참사> 수사본부 '세월호 침몰 원인' 수사 집중" [MV Sewol Disaster: Investigations Headquarters focus investigations on the 'Cause of the MV Sewol Capsizing']. Yonhap News (in Korean). 3 May 2014. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  96. ^ Kim (김), Ji Eun (지은) (18 April 2014). "[진도 여객선 침몰 참사] 항로변경前 이미 선체 손상 가능성... 급선회하며 쏠림현상 겹친 듯" [Jin-do ferry capsizing: Before the turn, a possibility of prior structural damage... the sudden turn and the cargo piling appears to have combined] (in Korean). 인터넷한국일보. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
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  99. ^ "선박 내부 구조와 침몰 원인은? [공길영, 한국해양대 교수]" [The inside structure of the ship and the cause of the capsizing? ―Kong Gil-Young, professor of the Korea Maritime University] (in Korean). YTN. 17 April 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  100. ^ "[진도 해상 여객선 침몰]세월호 침몰 원인?..."암초 충돌로 긴 파공 생겼을 것"" (in Korean). Herald Corp. 16 April 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014. "공길영 한국해양대 항해시스템공학부 교수는 "사고 해역은 암초가 전혀 없는 곳이기 때문에 암초 충돌 가능성은 희박하다"며 "카페리 특성상 배에 실려 있던 화물이나 차량에서 폭발이 일어나면서 선체에 파공이 생겨 침수됐을 개연성이 높다"고 지적" 
  101. ^ "[속보] 진도 여객선 침몰 이유? "안개 탓으로 암초 부딪혀..."" [Breaking News: The cause of Jindo Ferry capsizing? "Due to the fog, the ferry hit a reef..."]. MBN News (in Korean) (Maeil Broadcasting Network). 16 April 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2014. 
  102. ^ Lee, Hyung Joo (형주) (17 April 2014). "[단독]선장 "암초충돌 아니다... 원인 몰라"" [Exclusive: Captain says "It's not a collision with a reef... don't know the cause"]. 동아일보 (in Korean) (Dong A). Retrieved 19 April 2014. 
  103. ^ Lee, Kyung Jin (경진) (17 April 2014). "진도 여객선 세월호 침몰 원인, 변침으로 잠정결론...'에어포켓만이 희망'" [The cause of the Jindo Ferry Sewol capsizing, temporarily concluded as a sudden turn... 'the only hope is air pockets']. TV Daily (Asia E). Retrieved 19 April 2014. 
  104. ^ Kim (김), HoJun (호준) (16 April 2014). "진도 해상서 조난 여객선 구조차 해군 긴급출동" [Navy emergency rescue effort for a ferry capsized near Jin-do]. Yonhap News (in Korean). Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  105. ^ "452명 탄 여객선 진도 해상서 침몰中...110명 구조" [A ferry with 452 people capsizing near Jindo coast... 110 people rescued]. Yonhap News (in Korean). 16 April 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  106. ^ "<여객선침몰> 해군 승조원들 '구명조끼' 던져주며 구조" [Ferry Capsizing: Navy sailors rescue by throwing life jackets]. Yonhap News (in Korean). 16 April 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  107. ^ "<여객선침몰> 해수부, 해양사고 '심각' 경보 발령(종합)" [Ferry Capsizing: Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, declared the naval accidental state 'grave']. Yonhap News (in Korean). 16 April 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  108. ^ "<여객선침몰> 복지부, 재난의료지원팀 급파" [Ferry Capsizing: Ministry of Health and Welfare, quickly dispatched the Disaster Medical Support Team]. Yonhap News (in Korean). 16 April 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  109. ^ "여객선 침몰 대비...수중구조 해군SSU 투입(속보)" [Preparing for the capsizing of the ferry... sea rescue operations navy unit SSU deployed]. Yonhap News (breaking news) (in Korean). 16 April 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  110. ^ "<여객선침몰> 육군 특전사 150명·해군 구조대 196명 투입" [Ferry Capsizing: 150 Army Special Warfare Command units 196 Navy rescuers sent for operations]. Yonhap News (in Korean). 16 April 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  111. ^ "<여객선침몰> 경기도 재난안전대책본부 가동" [Ferry Capsizing: Gyeonggi-do starts operating the Prevention and Countermeasures Headquarters]. Yonhap News (in Korean). 16 April 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  112. ^ "고교생 등 477명 탄 여객선 침몰...290명 생사불명" [A ferry with 477 people, including high school students capsize... 290 missing]. Yonhap News (in Korean). 16 April 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  113. ^ "<여객선침몰> 경기교육청 종합상황본부 확대 설치" [Ferry Capsizing: The Gyeonggi-do Office of Education establishes the Accident Countermeasures Report Compiling Headquarters]. Yonhap News (in Korean). 16 April 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  114. ^ "침몰 여객선 선체 수색 중단...17일 새벽 재개키로" [The hull investigations of the capsized ferry stopped... Operations planned to begin again on the morning of the 17th]. Yonhap news (in Korean). 16 April 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  115. ^ Kim (김), JongWon (종원) (16 April 2014). "[진도 여객선 침몰] 군·해경 선체수색 나섰지만 안타깝게..." [Jin-do ferry capsize: Military, navy went to investigate but regretfully...]. Asia Today (in Korean). Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  116. ^ "<여객선침몰> 조명탄 쏘며 선체 수색 재개" [<Ferry Capsizing> Hull investigations begin again while shooting flares]. Yonhap News (in Koren) (Yonhap). 17 April 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  117. ^ a b Kim (김), HanSik (한식); Kim (김), TaeSung (태성); Bak (박), JunBae (준배); Kim (김), Ho (호) (17 April 2014). "오전 7시 수색 개시...사망자 6명 모두 신원 확인(종합)" [Start Investigation at 7 am... all six deaths identified] (in Korean). News1 Korea. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  118. ^ "<여객선침몰> 다이버 등 민간단체 수색·구조에 동참" [<Ferry Capsizing> Civilian groups such as divers help in the search/rescue operations]. Yonhap News (in Korean) (Yonhap). 17 April 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  119. ^ "<여객선침몰> "야속한 하늘이여" 기상악화로 수색중단" [<Ferry Capsizing> "The cruel sky" Search operations stopped due to worsening weather conditions] (in Korean). 17 April 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
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External links[edit]