South Korean Ship Disaster: Prime Minister of South Korea Resigns, Crew Members Arrested, and Death Toll Rises

The sinking of the Sewol, the South Korean ship that was filled with hundreds of high school students, has already faded from the headlines. However, a tragedy as great as the Sewol’s sinking can’t be so easily forgotten, and recent news – especially the resignation of Chung Hong-won, the Prime Minister of South Korea – has thrust the ferry disaster into public view once more. Below are the latest updates regarding the South Korean ship disaster, including information about the resignation of South Korean’s Prime Minister, the arrest of every crew member who was responsible for navigating the ship, and the ever-rising death toll.

After initial reports about the disaster’s rising death toll and the grim fact that the ship was filled with high school students on a vacation, attention turned, as it inevitably would, to who was to blame for the shipwreck. For obvious reasons, the man in charge of the ship, Captain Lee Joon Suk, was the object of intense focus, and indeed an arrest warrant was issued for the captain of the ferry only a few days after the accident.

The ship disaster that devastated South Koreans and shocked the world has ruined careers not nearly as closely associated with the wreck, however. Most notably and most recently, the Prime Minister of South Korea resigned his post today. The Prime Minister, who essentially serves as a coordinator of South Korea’s various government ministries, took responsibility for the government’s problem-laden response to the disaster. The Prime Minister of South Korea is selected by the President, Park Geun-hye. Some have called for the President’s resignation, although this will almost certainly not happen, according to South Korean analysts quoted by CNN.

In addition to the captain and Prime Minister, all 14 of the crew members responsible for navigating the ship have been arrested. Like the captain, they are being charged with abandoning ship, which is not only a violation of an old code of honor, but also a criminal offense according to South Korean maritime law. (The captain of the Costa Concordia, Francesco Schettino, was charged with a similar crime in an Italian court after the Costa Concordia disaster. Whether Schettino is responsible for the shipwreck has yet to be determined by the court.) The seven crew members who survived the wreck but were not arrested were those who held non-maritime positions on the Sewol, like the ship’s chef.

In the last death toll update we wrote, 28 people were confirmed dead and hundreds were missing. Unfortunately, those numbers are now practically reversed: 188 people have been confirmed dead and at least another 114 are still missing. At this point, all the missing passengers are presumed dead.

South Korean Shipwreck

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