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S Korean president says ferry captain's action 'tantamount to murder'

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Sounds like Ms. Park is rushing to throw the crew to the wolves, to keep them from her own door.

I understand the families in their despair are ready to lash out at anyone and everyone. Doesn't mean the media or politicians should be lashing out as well and rushing to condem. Cooer heads, please. Can we focus on recovery now, and then the investigation? Does this premature flaming actually help anyone?

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Shouldn't that ruling be left to a court of law rather than a politician?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

“The actions of the captain and some crew members were utterly incomprehensible, unacceptable and tantamount to murder,” the presidential Blue House quoted Park as saying in a meeting with senior aides.

Has President Park Geun-Hye, just dispensed with the criminal law system in South Korea? So Arrest & Detention Procedures have been deemed inapplicable? Is it still the case under South Korea Law, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty?

If so, then perhaps senior aides could politely remind President Park Geun-Hye

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I have no sympathy for the captain, but to jump in with such a comment before investigation is finished is totally unpresidential.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

but to jump in with such a comment before investigation is finished is totally unpresidential.

Very true. Then again, so is refusing help when people are dying, which it seems like her government may well have done. So, she's two for two in being unpresidential.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I agree with Tohka. Guilty or innocent, the chance of getting a fair hearing is now approximately zero.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Murder requires intent to kill, no?,,,

This is a tough call. I imagine 99% of captains and crews of ships have never been on a ship that was actually sinking and even if trained they may have difficulty believing it was actually happening.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

With these remarks, Park shows she clearly not fit for the office of President. It is not the Presidents job to lead lynch-mobs, or to prejudge or bias the outcomes of criminal and legal proceedings with emotive and intemperate comments. Rather than pandering to the angst of voters via a low-brow revenge mentality, she should be giving aid and comfort to those affected, and showing confidence in investigators and the judiciary.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

This is a tough call.

Not for me. Guilty.

I imagine 99% of captains and crews of ships have never been on a ship that was actually sinking and even if trained they may have difficulty believing it was actually happening.

They're supposed to be prepared. They're also supposed to take responsibility. The ferry didn't sink in 5 minutes. They were clueless and apparently didn't care less about those kids.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

You can't just blame the crew. How does a ferry operator get a license? How often is it reviewed and renewed and what is the procedure? What about the awareness every crew member carries responsibility for the lives of the passengers and need to have proved, repeatedly they are up to it. It's the government who must guarantee all rules are in place and being observed. Not just once, but every so many months. Stop shouting Park. Make sure this kind of disaster is not repeated, ever.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Innocent until proven guilty clearly doesn't apply in Korea.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Maybe the captain made a series of mistakes, but I do believe that what he said is basically true. He did make them all put on life jackets and warm clothes. He did not want them abandoning ship into freezing water and rip tides unless and until he could be assured by those on the other end of the wireless that help was on the way and nearby. He felt that anyone jumping in would be in immediate danger of hypothermia and being swept away. This is why he asked three times for assurances. He may not have believed that the ship would really sink. (We have not yet heard from where the water actually entered, by the way. A mere list should not have allowed water in.) He does feel genuinely ashamed and haunted by what happened.

The ship then listed so badly that no-one could keep their footing or get to the life-rafts to release them. At this point he abandoned ship, and people lost lives, and this is where he is at fault, like the Captain of the Costa Concordia.

Thoughts for the future. Perhaps ship decking should have ribs on it to help people in listing situations, and more thought should be given to placement of and remote ways of releasing life-rafts on such ships.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

From what I hear, it was 12 degrees. Surely the passengers were wearing suitable clothing to be outside at this time of year, and that's were they should have been - outside and ready to disembark.

You don't stay inside. Yes, the water temperature is lower so you don't go in unless you have to. But it's better than an almost certain death inside.

Don't blame the crew? I've heard some bs in my time but this takes the cake.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

nandakandamanda

He felt that anyone jumping in would be in immediate danger of hypothermia and being swept away. This is why he asked three times for assurances. Perhaps ship decking should have ribs on it to help people in listing situations, and more thought should be given to placement of and remote ways of releasing life-rafts on such ships.

I'm with you, nandakandamana.

And SecularBeast, you managed to write exactly what I wished to convey. Well put!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@reformed basher "They were clueless and apparently didn't care less about those kids."

That's a very harsh and unsupported statement. The captain and the crew clearly cared about ordering the kids into the water and worried they might drown before the coastguard could reach them. I think we underestimate just how hard it is to make a call and how people react in a real life or death situation. The captain knows if he orders people into the water some will drown. The best case scenario is that the coast guard might arrive and allow everyone to be rescued. Knowing that immediate action will certainly result in some deaths and that waiting gives you the faint chance of no deaths at all, it's just natural human psychology to hesitate. This is a well-known mechanism.

Think of an (imaginary) fire between you and your only exit that gets hotter and hotter as the minutes pass. If you leap now you know you will be burned. If you wait the burns will only get worse. But whoever set this twisted experiment has told you there is a certain percentage chance the fire will be put out all together if you give it time. Do you wait or do you leap? Of course, this is an implausible and imaginary scenario (and you can choose to think about it seriously or dismiss it as you please) but some version of this dilemma will often play out when a disaster unfolds. I don't think you can condemn the captain without walking a mile in his shoes.

Park's comments show an ignorance of this psychology, will prejudice any resulting trial, and look like political opportunism. Not her finest hour.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Yes, give him a chance to explain what was going on in his mind. Can't imagine being a captain on any sinking boat. Might also watch out for a suicide attempt by the captain. Truly a sad story for all on board and now their loved ones!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Quote from the Korea Herald today: According to an eye witness, the ship’s first mate, identified by the surname Kang, was given the order to evacuate by the captain, Lee Joon-seok. This is the first piece of evidence to support Lee’s claim that he ordered an evacuation before leaving the vessel.

“The captain gave the order to abandon ship to the first mate as the ship was going down. The first mate had the duty to lead the passenger evacuation,” Oh Yong-seok, one of Sewol’s helmsmen, was quoted as saying by the Herald Business. /end Quote.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“The captain gave the order to abandon ship to the first mate as the ship was going down. The first mate had the duty to lead the passenger evacuation,”

They did and the captain and 6 other crew members got off very nicely and were the first to get to shore.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I agree with the families the President Park Geun-Hye is just as much to blame for refusing help. She is basically trying to steer away the bone head decision she made to focus all the blame on the captain and his crew members. I agree that the Captain delayed the evacuation of the passengers as the ferry started sinking, and he “deserted them” but she also had an opportunity to get help from Japan and because of NATIONAL PRIDE she declined help. What an idiot for a president so she too is to blame. When you need help it doesn't matter who helps you innocent kids lost their lives and all those other issues could have been put aside!!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I get some of you don't like Park, and she might or might not be pandering to public opinion, but she is 100% correct in her appraisal of the crew.

I thought the life rafts were the flat type which just float off. It appears they were the type stored in canisters. Get them ready pronto. I'd be very surprised if they did not have sufficient rope stored on board for a painter. There is a railing topside at the bow. Lessen the effects of the list and possibility of getting swamped if the ferry turns turtle. Quick release knot. Get the passengers on board. They're safe and those life rafts are secured, ready to cast off. If all the passengers were aboard, they could have been towed to safety by the craft that arrived BEFORE the ferry sunk. Does South Korea not have a distress channel?

False alarm? Get them all back on board. Better safe than trapped.

The crew are obviously at fault. The owners may well prove to be at fault too. But the crew ran away. They left the passengers for dead. As the passengers had little to no hope of rescuing themselves, yes, calling the actions of the crew murder is fair. Maybe not all of the crew, the captain most definitely. He MUST take responsibility for everybody's safety. What would you think of a pilot grabbing a parachute and leaving a plane to crash? This guy was spotted escaping as quickly as he could. How can anybody in their right mind defend him? Let's not forget he left navigation up to an inexperienced third mate in dangerous waters.

I get some of you don't like Park. I don't like her myself. But she is spot on in this case.

BTW, saw a good photo of the stern. No doors? Doesn't look like there are any at the front either, looks like they are all at the sides which is huge mistake. If a ship of this design does list, the doors at the "top" would be unreachable in the case of a pronounced list, and the doors at the "bottom" would be underwater, possibly inoperable due to water pressure? Doors at the bow and stern should be mandatory, preferably in the "corners".

0 ( +4 / -4 )

So we would all feel better if the captain had gone down with the ship, too? 'Murder' is absolutely the wrong word to use and Park should be ashamed. She just wants to talk tough to try to make voters feel a little better. 'Negligence' probably, 'Murder' no. Until we have more info on how the ship came to sink, the back seat captains here will have to wait. Maybe there was a mechanical failure with the steering that caused the ship to oversteer, which in turn caused the cargo to shift and then resulted in the ship going down. No point speculating too much until the vessel is brought up and examined.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I might agree with Park on this one because not abandoning ship quickly killed a lot of people. On the other hand I guess I would have thought that more information was necessary before jumping to a conclusion. Then again Park has demonstrated that she likes to shoot from the hip....

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Not good for a high government official to make such harsh comments before an investigation has hardly started. The actions of the captain certainly doesn't seem captain like, nor the crew but we don't even know how this happened. It is also interesting that article doesn't say who built the ship. I am sure it will come up sooner or later. It also note worthy that the way ships are made today, they will not sink as nicely as the Titanic but will capsize and sink very rapidly.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I know this is a very tragic incident and that people should be held accountable. But what a unprofessional attitude from someone who is meant to be the leader of a country! Someone should kindly remind Park that its up to the investigators and courts to decide who is to be blamed and what punishment should be handed out. She also needs to be informed on the terminology of murder. Because unless this incident was premeditated (which is very unlikely to near on impossible). The people involved have caused death by gross negligence.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

and SK are so happy with her that they will vote her again in the office, mission accomplished. And next time she opens her mouth it will be endless tirade again against Japan.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

To all commentators defending (part of) the crews actions: The radio transmission was not made by the captain, but the 3rd mate, a 23 year old staff with no experience of this route, going between small islands! The captain was nowhere near the bridge. For what reasons we havn't heard a single word yet. And there is a big difference about ordering the passengers to stay in their cabins, far below deck, or telling them to put on live jackets and get to the main deck to be prepared for possible evacuation. In a twisted way, that 3rd mate was probably going by the manual which says to put the safety of the passengers first. She just didn't have enough experience, or instinct, to decide which was safer, inside their cabins, or out in the cold.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Murder, eh? Wow.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This is leadership? Korea stumbled badly in the first hours of the crisis, releasing misleading figures that vastly inflated the number of those rescued, raising hopes that were to be cruelly dashed. The crisis communications were poorly handled and lost valuable time to rescue these students. South Korea has a large and capable military coast guard vessels and helicopters, and they should've reacted much sooner if the emergency communication was handled properly.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

“The actions of the captain and some crew members were utterly incomprehensible, unacceptable and tantamount to murder,” Park said in a meeting with senior aides.

I had expected she would have at least allowed the Captain and crew a last meal before offering them up to be lynched in the press.

She cares not for the rule of law, especially since her administration was nearly lynch for it's lack of leadership and quick response. Now, President Park and her administration is desperately seeking a scapegoat and what better offering than the Captain of the ship and his crew.

The rule of law means absolutely nothing when a politicians image is at stake.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Is she have any kid? crew and captain is guilty for sure...but she is same level of guilty for killing all of those kids who waiting for their death inside those boat, they even speaking with their families from there. I hate this women so much. This woman must sit i jail, how she ever can speak about any issues of wwii, when she killing so many young Koreans, when they can be saved?? At last half of them...War sex slaves??? You did take 500 korean kids and put them under water, till they are not die and it even not the war time! And so many parents and those who now working there!! She must going to look for new bodies by herself now, at last found few of those who she killed, other way go to jail. Hope parents will be able to do something with this...women.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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