Crew, Captain Blamed for S. Korean Ship Tragedy

Crew, Captain Blamed for S. Korean Ship Tragedy

An investigation into the sinking of a South Korean trawler southeast of New Zealand with the loss of 22 lives two years ago has found the captain and crew to blame.

The Insung I sank on December 13, 2010, in the Antarctic Ocean and inside the New Zealand search and rescue region. Of the 42 people on board, five bodies were recovered and 17, including the captain, were never seen again.

The Korean Maritime Safety Tribunal found the vessel sank because the crew failed to keep the trawling and fishing gear passageway doors shut while sailing in bad weather, allowing sea water to flow in and destabilise the ship.

The tribunal’s report, released by New Zealand’s Transport Accident Investigation Commission Saturday, also found the loss of life “indicates the captain’s failure to evacuate the ship in a timely manner”.

The ship management was blamed for failing to provide adequate safety instructions and training in languages the crewmembers, who were from five different countries, could all understand.

On board were captain Yu Yeong-seob, 39 other sailors from South Korea, China, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, and two observers, from South Korea and Russia.