What caused the ship to sink?Updated: 2014-04-21 22:07:54 (KST)
Around 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 16th, the Sewol-ho ferry passed through treacherous waters, which are notorious here in Korea for their strong currents.
Eighteen minutes later, the ferry veers suddenly, which has been pointed to as the first factor in the sinking.
"What it means by the vessel supposedly making a P-turn is that the helm was turned to the right, then back again, but the boat didn't come back to its original position. Operations momentarily froze, which results in the ferry making a complete turn."
Due to centrifugal force, the vessel tilts to the left.
Now this is when the second factor may have come in.
Grips holding down the ferry's freight may have come loose, causing containers and vehicles in the cargo compartment to list sharply to one side.
The weight concentrated on just one side of the ferry, causes it to tilt even further.
If the vessel had enough dynamic stability, the vessel could have bounced back to the other side and maintained balance.
However, due to renovations to increase the vessel's capacity, the center of gravity on the ship had been raised from its original design.
"Due to the expansion of the ship, the upper structure has been changed, making the center of gravity much higher. If the center of gravity and buoyancy are far apart, the dynamic stability decreases."
Experts say the reduced dynamic stability caused the vessel to completely submerge, because it wasn't able to recover from the initial tilt.
They add that the Sewol-ho ferry may not have had enough ballast water, which maintains the balance of the vessel, in order to carry more cargo.
As all three factors could have been prevented, experts say the sinking will likely be attributed to human error.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.
What a mess.