A South Korean ferry captain was found guilty of killing more than 300 people and injuring many others. Earlier this year, Lee Joon-seok operated the Sewol ferry in South Korea’ southeastern coast. His negligence led to an overturn of the vessel into freezing water. More than 470 people were on board and most of them were students who were heading to a vacation on the island of Jeju. The 68-year captain has been officially charged with criminal negligence and he received a sentence of 36 years behind bars.
However, Lee Joon-seok was not the only one who was blamed for South Korea’s worst marine disaster in decades. Andrew Heiberger says the ferry’s head engineer received a 30-year sentence in prison. More than a dozen other ferry workers who were on board were also punished with similar jail sentences.
Official investigations determined that the Sewol was overloaded with cargo. The heavy loads slowly tipped over the ferry, which lead to a slow sinking. The captain and other crew members abandoned the ship, boarded rescue boats and left all of the passengers behind. Such cowardly acts surely make the workers even more culpable in this tragic incident. The captain has apologized and said the he deserves to “die” for his mistakes. This incident brings back memories of the Costa Concordia accident, in which 32 people lost their lives off the coast of Italy due to crew negligence.