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상세페이지

Rough Waters Ahead
입력 2014.04.24 (15:03) 수정 2014.04.24 (15:41) News Today
자동재생
동영상영역 시작
동영상영역 끝
[Anchor Lead]

Search and rescue efforts have picked up speed with the improvement in weather and tidal conditions at the site of the Sewol sinking. However, it’s a race against time as high winds, rain and stronger currents are forecast for the weekend.

[Pkg]

Winds have been rather calm and the waves have remained around 0.5 meters high around the Maenggol Straits. Fine weather around the accident site is expected to continue until Friday. The waves would be about one meter high at the most for today and 1.5 meters for tomorrow. But a rainstorm is forecasted for Saturday afternoon and the waves are expected to reach as high as three meters. For now the currents at the treacherous Maenggol Straits have noticeably slowed down. This time of the month is when the amount of seawater coming in and out of the area is at the lowest level and the currents are the slowest. But this span of favorable tidal conditions is expected to end today. So the underwater search operation is only going to get tougher as time goes by. Until today the current speed measured 1.6 meters per second at its peak, but it is expected to increase to 1.8 meters per second by Friday, 2 meters on Saturday and 2.2 meters on Sunday. The slow current period for the Maenggol straits is an hour before and after 9:52 p.m. tonight. The rescue authorities are likely to step up their efforts today when the weather and tidal current conditions are their best.

2. Divers' Heart

[Anchor Lead]

Divers continue to give it everything they’ve got to recover the missing ferry passengers. They’re even putting their own lives at risk in hopes of making an impact.

[Pkg]

[Soundbite] "Light! Light!"

Rescue operations at the site of the Sewol disaster are all about pushing a human being's limits. The divers continue their search for missing passengers even when their oxygen supply are dangerously low.

[Soundbite] "There's no pressure left."

To prevent health risks, divers must move slowly when exiting the water, but these divers just want to save as much time as possible.

[Soundbite] "I came up to the surface too fast because I ran out of oxygen. (You came up too fast.)"

The area of the Sewol accident is known for its difficult diving conditions. The naval regulations say that diving is only allowed when the flow velocity is less than one knot. However, in this area, it can go as fast as four times that speed, but is generally in the range of two to three knots.

[Soundbite] Navy Official (Voice Modified) : "It's so strong. It's never less than one knot. We’re walking a fine line between life and death here."

The divers have been carrying out their rescue operations for several days in a row. They are extremely fatigued, and their ability to concentrate has deteriorated.

[Soundbite] JEONG CHANG-HO (Executive Director, Korea Underwater Association) : "I understand why they are so determined, but they have to move up slowly to stay safe within the no-decompression limit."

Despite the harsh conditions, these divers say that the only rule that exists for them is saving as many missing passengers as possible.

3. Life Raft Question

[Anchor Lead]

A lot of questions remain surrounding the sinking of the Sewol. One of them is why didn’t the life rafts work? Evidence shows that the rafts onboard may have been useless to begin with.

[Pkg]

There were 44 life raft capsules on the deck of the overturning ferry. The rafts should have been deployed already, but they remained where they were. Then, why was that? The crew members claim that they could have released the capsules, but could not even approach them because the ship was already severely tilted.

[Soundbite] Helmsman, Ferry Sewol (Voice Modified) : "If anyone had approached the rafts, it wouldn't have taken even two or three minutes to release 40 of them."

Evidence show otherwise. The crew members had been staying in the wheelhouse and the person who got to the rafts was a coast guard. The Coast Guard rescuer tried but failed to release the first and second capsules on the right, because their safety pins were locked in place.

[Soundbite] Ass. Ins. LEE HYEONG-RAE (Korean Coast Guard) : "I tried the closest one as soon as I got aboard, but I couldn't pull out the safety pin."

Finally, he managed to kick out to the sea a pair of rafts located on the far left side. But out of the two, only one opened up. The coast guard said that he could not pull out the safety pins because they were rusted and tightly fastened by something.

[Soundbite] "I tried to pull out the pins, but couldn't because the first one was stuck. It was impossible to release them with just my fingers."

That means that the sailors would have had the same problem even if they had tried to deploy the rafts. Life rafts are designed to automatically float up to the surface at the depth of three meters, but only four of the ferry's rafts have been discovered so far, with the rest of the life rafts still submerged underwater.

4. Raft Condition

[Anchor Lead]

There are now suspicions that the captain and sailors on the Sewol may have known that the life rafts would not deploy. If the life rafts were in working order, many more could have been saved.

[Pkg]

As the coast guards struggled to launch life rafts, the captain and sailors of the Sewol were getting on a rescue boat. None of them even attempted to help the coast guards and rescuers launch the life rafts. This is why there are suspicions that they already knew that the life rafts would not work. There is also a testimony that the sailors knew that most of the life rafts would malfunction.

[Soundbite] Fmr. Mate of the Sewol : "Safety pins of life boats get inseparable often because of paint"

The conversation between the Sewol and the Jindo Vessel Traffic Service is also suspicious. Despite the repeated orders to get the passengers to abandon the ship, the Sewol kept asking the Jindo VTS if they could be rescued immediately.

[Soundbite] Jindo Vessel Traffic Service Center : "You have to tell passengers to put on life vests and thick clothes."

[Soundbite] The Sewol : "Will passengers be rescued if they escape?"

[Soundbite] Jindo Vessel Traffic Service Center : "You have to get them life rings. Now!"

[Soundbite] The Sewol : "I'm asking if we abandon the ship, you can rescue us right after?"

The sailors never said that they would launch the life rafts. They could not tell the passengers to jump into the rough sea when they already knew that the life rafts would not work. So the sailors just kept asking the Jindo VTS about when the rescue ships would arrive. More passengers could have been rescued if the life rafts had been in proper working condition. While finding the exact cause of the ferry sinking is critical, it is also crucial to investigate whether or not the life rafts were operational.

5. Sailors' Story

[Anchor Lead]

All seven sailors who were on board the sunken Sewol claim that the captain ordered passengers to escape. The evidence so far contradicts this claim.

[Pkg]

[Soundbite] LEE JOON-SEOK (Captain, Ferry Sewol (Apr. 19)) : "(Why didn't you order passengers to escape?) I did."

Other Sewol sailors sing the same tune.

[Soundbite] First Mate, Ferry Sewol (Apr. 22) : "When a rescue ship arrived, I radioed the crew members to tell passengers to escape. Sailors were ordered to escape when the ship tilted by 90 degrees."

An assistant engineer of the ferry gave a different explanation a day after the sinking.

[Soundbite] PARK SANG-YONG (Assistant Engineer, Ferry Sewol (Apr. 17)) : "(Were there notices to passengers?) I don't know. (How much did the ship tilt when you left?) It was 30 or 40 degrees at that time."

There are suspicions that the sailors conspired with the captain to make up a same story. About half of the 15 sailors had stayed at the same hotel before they were arrested.

[Soundbite] Employee, Hotel (Voice Modified) : "They stayed at our hotel. But I don't know if they used the same room."

At the hotel having TV and Internet access, it was possible for them to get updates on the situation following the tragedy. Investigators are questioning the sailors about if they received orders from the Sewol's operator before making a distress call.

6. Falling Debris

[Anchor Lead]

Falling cabinets, furniture and equipment hindered passengers’ escape during the sinking. The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries has regulations that these things should be firmly fixed in place, but this only applies to international vessels.

[Pkg]

This footage was recorded by Sewol passenger Kim Hong-gyeong's smartphone right before the ferry sank. A vending machine that had fell over when the vessel started listing is blocking the hallway.

[Soundbite] KIM HONG-GYEONG (Passenger) : "When the ship started listing all of a sudden, vending machines and furniture that were inside fell onto the passengers, who in turn bumped into one another."

[Soundbite] Passenger : "There were injured people. Some hurt their heads, others were hit by the vending machines that fell over."

A refrigerator in the ferry's store has also fallen.

[Soundbite] JANG EUN-BOK (Passenger) : "If a beverage fridge starts falling over because it's not fixed and hits people, it can kill them."

Vending machines and refrigerators that have turned over blocked the passengers' way when they were trying to escape from the sinking ship. While international vessels are mandated to firmly lock down their fixtures, this regulation doesn't apply to domestic ships. Passenger ferries like the Sewol are allowed to operate without firmly fixing their equipment. The results of a safety inspection that was conducted in February this year showed that the domestic ships had no problems in terms of the way they handled items aboard their vessels. The Sewol disaster is yet another reminder that regulations with regard to evacuation equipment on domestic ships must be strengthened in line with international standards.

7. Cargo Overload

[Anchor Lead]

The Sewol ferry is officially a passenger ferry, but in fact 60 percent of sales come from cargo transportation, which is more lucrative. Could the ship have been overloaded?

[Pkg]

Cheonghaejin Marine Company bought the Sewol two years ago from Japan. Its Japanese name was Naminoue. On the right side of the ship there was a side ramp for loading vehicles and freight. But on the Sewol the ramp is nowhere to be seen. The side ramp is made of iron and weighs about 50 tons. Cheonghaejin Marine apparently removed the ramp in order to load more cargo onto the ferry.

[Soundbite] Prof. KIM GIL-SU (Korea Maritime University) : "If you remove it, you can load as much freight as the ramp weighs. If it's 30-50 tons, then it negatively affects the ship's restoring force."

Sewol's cargo weight limit was lowered to a thousand tons because its balance restoring force became too weak after more passenger cabins were built. But in reality as much as three thousand tons of cargo were loaded onto the ferry. When a ship is overloaded, its ballast water, which helps maintain balance, decreases. However, ship owners oftentimes overload their ships because cargo transportation is more lucrative than passenger transportation.

[Soundbite] Staff, Ferry Operation Company (Voice Modified) : "Cargo transportation revenues are usually very stable because freight must be transported on a regular basis, unlike passengers."

In light of the series of recent accidents, the International Maritime Organization is considering banning the operation of ferries that simultaneously transport people and freight.

8. Ship Life span

[Anchor Lead]

Ships on the sea have a life span for safe operation, but different government agencies seem to be unable to come to a consensus on how long that should be in their conflicting reports.

[Pkg]

Cheonghaejin Marine Company bought the 18-year-old Sewol ferry from Japan two years ago and operated it between Incheon and Jeju Island. In 2009, the Shipping Act was revised, raising the limit on the years of operation for ships from 25 years to 30 years. That means that the Sewol was allowed to operate for 12 more years. At the time, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport used this report as a basis to increase the number of years a ship can operate. The ministry said that after surveying 41 passenger ferries that were 15 years old and older, it found that the ships' safety wasn't seriously affected due to their age. The ministry even said that its analysis of marine accidents that happened after 1997 showed that the ships' age had nothing to do with the causes of the accidents. The government raised the limit on the number of years a ship can operate at the request of the passenger ferry companies.

[Soundbite] JEONG CHANG-SU (National Finance Institute) : "In many cases such reports are used to rationalize or justify government policies according to the government's needs."

However, another report that was written by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport four years later says something totally different. It says that old vessels need urgent improvement because they are prone to accidents. The report added that marine companies were deliberately importing old passenger ships because of the revised age limit, and that in just five years, the number of ships that are 21 years old and more had quadrupled. Late last year the number of large passenger ferries weighing over 2,000 tons stood in Korea at 17, including the Sewol. Fifteen of them were used ships that were imported from overseas. Their median age was over 20 years.

9. Chonghaejin Raid

[Anchor Lead]

Prosecutors have raided ten locations in their investigation of Yoo Byeong-eon, the owner of the Sewol’s operator Chonghaejin Marine Company. Yoo’s home and Chonghaejin Marine affiliates were included in the search and seizure.

[Pkg]

This is the home of former Semo Group Chairman Yoo Byeong-eon. He is known as the real owner of the ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine. Prosecutorial investigators pick the gate lock and rush inside.

[Soundbite] "(What have you taken?)"

The search and seizure took place simultaneously at ten locations. The investigators searched the homes of ex-CEO Yoo and his two sons, offices of Chonghaejin Marine and its affiliates, as well as the religious group Yoo was associated with. The prosecution has seized accounting books, internal reports and management-related materials. The seized materials will help the prosecutors probe the allegations of embezzlement and breach of trust by the Yoo family and executives of affiliate companies. The prosecution will also look examine whether the owner's family had taken their assets overseas, committed tax evasion, hidden assets and illegally lobbied supervisory agencies. Also, the National Tax Service will hand over its findings from special audits conducted on I-One-I Holdings, Chonghaejin Marine's holding company, to aid in the prosecutorial investigation. The headquarters and the Incheon office of the Korea Shipping Association, a passenger ship watchdog, have also been searched to look into widespread corruption in shipping and port operation.

10. Web of Management

[Anchor Lead]

Aside from Chonghaejin Marine Company, Yoo Byung-eon and his family have stakes in some 30 other companies in a web-like management structure.

[Pkg]

Former Semo Group Chaiman Yoo Byung-eon's two sons have stakes in four companies. With a combined 39 percent stake, the two sons are a major shareholder in the holding company I-One-I Holdings. The I-One-I Holdings has stakes in eight businesses, including Chonghaejin Marine, shipbuilder Chonhaiji and a dietary supplement company Dapanda. Chonhaiji is a major shareholder of Chonghaejin Marine while Dapanda has stakes in Chonhaiji and Semo. The companies have stakes in each other through a cross-shareholding system. Through this, Yoo's two sons control 12 major affiliates with the 39 percent stake they have in I-One-I Holdings. Their assets stand at over 538 million U.S. dollars. When 18 other affiliates and overseas branches are factored in, the web-like management structure gets really complicated.

[Soundbite] BAEK HEUNG-GI (Hyundai Research Institute) : "They can expand their influence over the affiliates with just a relatively small investment. They can take less legal responsibility than they should."

As the former chairman has no share in those companies, he and his family can dodge any legal responsibilities for the sinking of the Sewol, even though they own and control the companies. Observers says that with the complicated management structure, questions will arise as to who is responsible for paying the families of the victims compensation for their loss.
  • Rough Waters Ahead
    • 입력 2014-04-24 15:19:34
    • 수정2014-04-24 15:41:39
    News Today
[Anchor Lead]

Search and rescue efforts have picked up speed with the improvement in weather and tidal conditions at the site of the Sewol sinking. However, it’s a race against time as high winds, rain and stronger currents are forecast for the weekend.

[Pkg]

Winds have been rather calm and the waves have remained around 0.5 meters high around the Maenggol Straits. Fine weather around the accident site is expected to continue until Friday. The waves would be about one meter high at the most for today and 1.5 meters for tomorrow. But a rainstorm is forecasted for Saturday afternoon and the waves are expected to reach as high as three meters. For now the currents at the treacherous Maenggol Straits have noticeably slowed down. This time of the month is when the amount of seawater coming in and out of the area is at the lowest level and the currents are the slowest. But this span of favorable tidal conditions is expected to end today. So the underwater search operation is only going to get tougher as time goes by. Until today the current speed measured 1.6 meters per second at its peak, but it is expected to increase to 1.8 meters per second by Friday, 2 meters on Saturday and 2.2 meters on Sunday. The slow current period for the Maenggol straits is an hour before and after 9:52 p.m. tonight. The rescue authorities are likely to step up their efforts today when the weather and tidal current conditions are their best.

2. Divers' Heart

[Anchor Lead]

Divers continue to give it everything they’ve got to recover the missing ferry passengers. They’re even putting their own lives at risk in hopes of making an impact.

[Pkg]

[Soundbite] "Light! Light!"

Rescue operations at the site of the Sewol disaster are all about pushing a human being's limits. The divers continue their search for missing passengers even when their oxygen supply are dangerously low.

[Soundbite] "There's no pressure left."

To prevent health risks, divers must move slowly when exiting the water, but these divers just want to save as much time as possible.

[Soundbite] "I came up to the surface too fast because I ran out of oxygen. (You came up too fast.)"

The area of the Sewol accident is known for its difficult diving conditions. The naval regulations say that diving is only allowed when the flow velocity is less than one knot. However, in this area, it can go as fast as four times that speed, but is generally in the range of two to three knots.

[Soundbite] Navy Official (Voice Modified) : "It's so strong. It's never less than one knot. We’re walking a fine line between life and death here."

The divers have been carrying out their rescue operations for several days in a row. They are extremely fatigued, and their ability to concentrate has deteriorated.

[Soundbite] JEONG CHANG-HO (Executive Director, Korea Underwater Association) : "I understand why they are so determined, but they have to move up slowly to stay safe within the no-decompression limit."

Despite the harsh conditions, these divers say that the only rule that exists for them is saving as many missing passengers as possible.

3. Life Raft Question

[Anchor Lead]

A lot of questions remain surrounding the sinking of the Sewol. One of them is why didn’t the life rafts work? Evidence shows that the rafts onboard may have been useless to begin with.

[Pkg]

There were 44 life raft capsules on the deck of the overturning ferry. The rafts should have been deployed already, but they remained where they were. Then, why was that? The crew members claim that they could have released the capsules, but could not even approach them because the ship was already severely tilted.

[Soundbite] Helmsman, Ferry Sewol (Voice Modified) : "If anyone had approached the rafts, it wouldn't have taken even two or three minutes to release 40 of them."

Evidence show otherwise. The crew members had been staying in the wheelhouse and the person who got to the rafts was a coast guard. The Coast Guard rescuer tried but failed to release the first and second capsules on the right, because their safety pins were locked in place.

[Soundbite] Ass. Ins. LEE HYEONG-RAE (Korean Coast Guard) : "I tried the closest one as soon as I got aboard, but I couldn't pull out the safety pin."

Finally, he managed to kick out to the sea a pair of rafts located on the far left side. But out of the two, only one opened up. The coast guard said that he could not pull out the safety pins because they were rusted and tightly fastened by something.

[Soundbite] "I tried to pull out the pins, but couldn't because the first one was stuck. It was impossible to release them with just my fingers."

That means that the sailors would have had the same problem even if they had tried to deploy the rafts. Life rafts are designed to automatically float up to the surface at the depth of three meters, but only four of the ferry's rafts have been discovered so far, with the rest of the life rafts still submerged underwater.

4. Raft Condition

[Anchor Lead]

There are now suspicions that the captain and sailors on the Sewol may have known that the life rafts would not deploy. If the life rafts were in working order, many more could have been saved.

[Pkg]

As the coast guards struggled to launch life rafts, the captain and sailors of the Sewol were getting on a rescue boat. None of them even attempted to help the coast guards and rescuers launch the life rafts. This is why there are suspicions that they already knew that the life rafts would not work. There is also a testimony that the sailors knew that most of the life rafts would malfunction.

[Soundbite] Fmr. Mate of the Sewol : "Safety pins of life boats get inseparable often because of paint"

The conversation between the Sewol and the Jindo Vessel Traffic Service is also suspicious. Despite the repeated orders to get the passengers to abandon the ship, the Sewol kept asking the Jindo VTS if they could be rescued immediately.

[Soundbite] Jindo Vessel Traffic Service Center : "You have to tell passengers to put on life vests and thick clothes."

[Soundbite] The Sewol : "Will passengers be rescued if they escape?"

[Soundbite] Jindo Vessel Traffic Service Center : "You have to get them life rings. Now!"

[Soundbite] The Sewol : "I'm asking if we abandon the ship, you can rescue us right after?"

The sailors never said that they would launch the life rafts. They could not tell the passengers to jump into the rough sea when they already knew that the life rafts would not work. So the sailors just kept asking the Jindo VTS about when the rescue ships would arrive. More passengers could have been rescued if the life rafts had been in proper working condition. While finding the exact cause of the ferry sinking is critical, it is also crucial to investigate whether or not the life rafts were operational.

5. Sailors' Story

[Anchor Lead]

All seven sailors who were on board the sunken Sewol claim that the captain ordered passengers to escape. The evidence so far contradicts this claim.

[Pkg]

[Soundbite] LEE JOON-SEOK (Captain, Ferry Sewol (Apr. 19)) : "(Why didn't you order passengers to escape?) I did."

Other Sewol sailors sing the same tune.

[Soundbite] First Mate, Ferry Sewol (Apr. 22) : "When a rescue ship arrived, I radioed the crew members to tell passengers to escape. Sailors were ordered to escape when the ship tilted by 90 degrees."

An assistant engineer of the ferry gave a different explanation a day after the sinking.

[Soundbite] PARK SANG-YONG (Assistant Engineer, Ferry Sewol (Apr. 17)) : "(Were there notices to passengers?) I don't know. (How much did the ship tilt when you left?) It was 30 or 40 degrees at that time."

There are suspicions that the sailors conspired with the captain to make up a same story. About half of the 15 sailors had stayed at the same hotel before they were arrested.

[Soundbite] Employee, Hotel (Voice Modified) : "They stayed at our hotel. But I don't know if they used the same room."

At the hotel having TV and Internet access, it was possible for them to get updates on the situation following the tragedy. Investigators are questioning the sailors about if they received orders from the Sewol's operator before making a distress call.

6. Falling Debris

[Anchor Lead]

Falling cabinets, furniture and equipment hindered passengers’ escape during the sinking. The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries has regulations that these things should be firmly fixed in place, but this only applies to international vessels.

[Pkg]

This footage was recorded by Sewol passenger Kim Hong-gyeong's smartphone right before the ferry sank. A vending machine that had fell over when the vessel started listing is blocking the hallway.

[Soundbite] KIM HONG-GYEONG (Passenger) : "When the ship started listing all of a sudden, vending machines and furniture that were inside fell onto the passengers, who in turn bumped into one another."

[Soundbite] Passenger : "There were injured people. Some hurt their heads, others were hit by the vending machines that fell over."

A refrigerator in the ferry's store has also fallen.

[Soundbite] JANG EUN-BOK (Passenger) : "If a beverage fridge starts falling over because it's not fixed and hits people, it can kill them."

Vending machines and refrigerators that have turned over blocked the passengers' way when they were trying to escape from the sinking ship. While international vessels are mandated to firmly lock down their fixtures, this regulation doesn't apply to domestic ships. Passenger ferries like the Sewol are allowed to operate without firmly fixing their equipment. The results of a safety inspection that was conducted in February this year showed that the domestic ships had no problems in terms of the way they handled items aboard their vessels. The Sewol disaster is yet another reminder that regulations with regard to evacuation equipment on domestic ships must be strengthened in line with international standards.

7. Cargo Overload

[Anchor Lead]

The Sewol ferry is officially a passenger ferry, but in fact 60 percent of sales come from cargo transportation, which is more lucrative. Could the ship have been overloaded?

[Pkg]

Cheonghaejin Marine Company bought the Sewol two years ago from Japan. Its Japanese name was Naminoue. On the right side of the ship there was a side ramp for loading vehicles and freight. But on the Sewol the ramp is nowhere to be seen. The side ramp is made of iron and weighs about 50 tons. Cheonghaejin Marine apparently removed the ramp in order to load more cargo onto the ferry.

[Soundbite] Prof. KIM GIL-SU (Korea Maritime University) : "If you remove it, you can load as much freight as the ramp weighs. If it's 30-50 tons, then it negatively affects the ship's restoring force."

Sewol's cargo weight limit was lowered to a thousand tons because its balance restoring force became too weak after more passenger cabins were built. But in reality as much as three thousand tons of cargo were loaded onto the ferry. When a ship is overloaded, its ballast water, which helps maintain balance, decreases. However, ship owners oftentimes overload their ships because cargo transportation is more lucrative than passenger transportation.

[Soundbite] Staff, Ferry Operation Company (Voice Modified) : "Cargo transportation revenues are usually very stable because freight must be transported on a regular basis, unlike passengers."

In light of the series of recent accidents, the International Maritime Organization is considering banning the operation of ferries that simultaneously transport people and freight.

8. Ship Life span

[Anchor Lead]

Ships on the sea have a life span for safe operation, but different government agencies seem to be unable to come to a consensus on how long that should be in their conflicting reports.

[Pkg]

Cheonghaejin Marine Company bought the 18-year-old Sewol ferry from Japan two years ago and operated it between Incheon and Jeju Island. In 2009, the Shipping Act was revised, raising the limit on the years of operation for ships from 25 years to 30 years. That means that the Sewol was allowed to operate for 12 more years. At the time, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport used this report as a basis to increase the number of years a ship can operate. The ministry said that after surveying 41 passenger ferries that were 15 years old and older, it found that the ships' safety wasn't seriously affected due to their age. The ministry even said that its analysis of marine accidents that happened after 1997 showed that the ships' age had nothing to do with the causes of the accidents. The government raised the limit on the number of years a ship can operate at the request of the passenger ferry companies.

[Soundbite] JEONG CHANG-SU (National Finance Institute) : "In many cases such reports are used to rationalize or justify government policies according to the government's needs."

However, another report that was written by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport four years later says something totally different. It says that old vessels need urgent improvement because they are prone to accidents. The report added that marine companies were deliberately importing old passenger ships because of the revised age limit, and that in just five years, the number of ships that are 21 years old and more had quadrupled. Late last year the number of large passenger ferries weighing over 2,000 tons stood in Korea at 17, including the Sewol. Fifteen of them were used ships that were imported from overseas. Their median age was over 20 years.

9. Chonghaejin Raid

[Anchor Lead]

Prosecutors have raided ten locations in their investigation of Yoo Byeong-eon, the owner of the Sewol’s operator Chonghaejin Marine Company. Yoo’s home and Chonghaejin Marine affiliates were included in the search and seizure.

[Pkg]

This is the home of former Semo Group Chairman Yoo Byeong-eon. He is known as the real owner of the ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine. Prosecutorial investigators pick the gate lock and rush inside.

[Soundbite] "(What have you taken?)"

The search and seizure took place simultaneously at ten locations. The investigators searched the homes of ex-CEO Yoo and his two sons, offices of Chonghaejin Marine and its affiliates, as well as the religious group Yoo was associated with. The prosecution has seized accounting books, internal reports and management-related materials. The seized materials will help the prosecutors probe the allegations of embezzlement and breach of trust by the Yoo family and executives of affiliate companies. The prosecution will also look examine whether the owner's family had taken their assets overseas, committed tax evasion, hidden assets and illegally lobbied supervisory agencies. Also, the National Tax Service will hand over its findings from special audits conducted on I-One-I Holdings, Chonghaejin Marine's holding company, to aid in the prosecutorial investigation. The headquarters and the Incheon office of the Korea Shipping Association, a passenger ship watchdog, have also been searched to look into widespread corruption in shipping and port operation.

10. Web of Management

[Anchor Lead]

Aside from Chonghaejin Marine Company, Yoo Byung-eon and his family have stakes in some 30 other companies in a web-like management structure.

[Pkg]

Former Semo Group Chaiman Yoo Byung-eon's two sons have stakes in four companies. With a combined 39 percent stake, the two sons are a major shareholder in the holding company I-One-I Holdings. The I-One-I Holdings has stakes in eight businesses, including Chonghaejin Marine, shipbuilder Chonhaiji and a dietary supplement company Dapanda. Chonhaiji is a major shareholder of Chonghaejin Marine while Dapanda has stakes in Chonhaiji and Semo. The companies have stakes in each other through a cross-shareholding system. Through this, Yoo's two sons control 12 major affiliates with the 39 percent stake they have in I-One-I Holdings. Their assets stand at over 538 million U.S. dollars. When 18 other affiliates and overseas branches are factored in, the web-like management structure gets really complicated.

[Soundbite] BAEK HEUNG-GI (Hyundai Research Institute) : "They can expand their influence over the affiliates with just a relatively small investment. They can take less legal responsibility than they should."

As the former chairman has no share in those companies, he and his family can dodge any legal responsibilities for the sinking of the Sewol, even though they own and control the companies. Observers says that with the complicated management structure, questions will arise as to who is responsible for paying the families of the victims compensation for their loss.