S. Korean Supreme Court Upholds Prison Sentence for Sewol-Operator Boss

The South Korean Supreme Court has upheld the verdict against the head of Sewol ferry operator Kim Han-Sik, who has been sentenced to seven years of prison on the grounds of manslaughter and embezzlement charges, writes the Associated Press.

The CEO of Chonghaejin Marine Co was sentenced to seven years by a South Korean appeals court in May, which reduced his sentence from ten to seven years as his actions were directed by the company’s owner Yoo Byung-Eun who was found dead in July, last year.

Four other Chonghaejin officials were sentenced to two-and-a-half to four years in prison on similar charges, the AP writes.

Kim was sentenced for allowing the ferry to be routinely overloaded and illegally remodeling to increase its cargo load, which eventually lead to the ferry’s doom in April 2014, when the ferry sank killing over 300 people, mostly high school students.

295 bodies have been recovered from the wreck, with 9 people still missing and believed to had been trapped in the vessel’s wreck.

Salvage experts of the consortium of companies led by China’s state-run Shanghai Salvage Co started the underwater inspection of the sunken Sewol ferry at the end of August.

Shanghai Salvage plans to use two 10,000 ton cranes and around 200 workers to lift the ferry, including around 100 divers.

According to the said official, there are also plans to place a net around the Sewol to prevent any bodies still trapped inside from being lost in the salvage process.

The key salvage activities are set for March, the ultimate goal being raising the wreck to the surface in one piece by July.

This is the first time a 6,700 -ton ferry is being salvaged as a whole instead of being cut into several pieces as there are fears it may affect the recovery of the missing bodies.

World Maritime News Staff

 

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