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Still in Our Hearts, the Sewol Ferry Tragedy

기사승인 2017.06.22  15:16:19

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On April 16, 2014, 476 people on board the Sewol Ferry for various reasons such as on school retreat, travel, business, and work experienced a life changing event.  The ferry sank and only 172 people survived.  Over 300 people lost their lives that day, many of which are known to be dead but others are still missing near the JindoPaegmok port in Gangwon Province. As the ship sank, the captain boarded a lifeboat after telling others on board to keep calm and stay where they were.  Soon after the ship was reported to be sinking, maritime police began searching for people and they found the first body on April 19.  The search was called off after 209 days at the request of families of the remaining 11 missing individuals on November 11, 2014.  On March 22, 2017, 1,000 days after the disaster, the Korean government ordered workers to salvage the ship.  Two Chinese shipping boats were employed to carry out the task.  Finally, on March 23, three years after the disaster, the ship was lifted from its sea grave.  The ship was badly rusted, but now that it had been lifted from the seabed, workers could start the search for the remaining nine missing people.  During the lifting procedure, work was delayed for three hours.  On March 25, they carried out the plan jacking barge would be connected to the ship, and a semi-submersible shelf lifted the ferry entirely from the sea.  The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries searched the ferry’s interior blocks on April 1, which had previously been impossible.  The search of the ship is expected to continue over the next two months.  Many attribute the initial delay to help survivors on the day of the accident to inappropriate measures like the irresponsibility of the crew, passive rescue operations, and poor security and safety.  It is important for Koreans to remember the disaster and to demand the government improve its emergency response times and action.

 

Song Yoon Heejeong smt_shj@sm.ac.kr

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