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Prosecutors raid offices of accounting firm that worked for ferry operator

Updated: 2014-04-26 18:30:55 KST
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The investigation into finding out what caused this tragic accident and who's responsible continues as well.
All 15 crew members involved in the navigation of the Sewol-ho ferry are now in custody, facing negligence charges.
Let's now go to our Laah Hyun-kyung at the news center for the latest..

Prosecutors and the police are jointly investigating this case.
And just a couple of hours ago, they raided the maritime traffic control center in Jindo.
Investigators suspect officers at the Jindo control center were neglecting their duties.
They were criticized for not being aware of the seriousness of the situation at the time of the accident.
The investigation team will reportedly focus on finding out whether and why officials were not monitoring the area they were responsible for closely.
And earlier in the day, several offices of an accounting firm that worked for the ferry operator, Chonghaejin Marine Company were raided as well.

The accounting firm is known to have worked very closely not only with the ferry operator but also with its affiliated firms that are practically controlled by Yoo Byung-eon -- whose two sons are the biggest shareholders of the ferry operator's holding company.
Prosecutors believe the accounting firm helped Yoo's companies forge audit reports.

And in light of this terrible disaster, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries has decided to require passenger ships to install naval black boxes?

Yes, they are called VDRs, or Voyage Data Recorders.
They record various data including the ship's communications, speeds and course changes all of which can be used to determine the cause, should a vessel capsize.
The United Nations' International Maritime Organization mandates all international cargo ships and ferries over 3-thousand tons to have VDRs.
But the nearly-7,ton Sewol-ho ferry made only domestic trips, meaning those international guidelines didn't apply.
Korea's maritime ministry says it plans on requiring the nation's cruise ships to also be equipped with black boxes.
The new regulation, which the ministry plans to have set up by the end of this year, will start to be enforced on newly-built cruise vessels.

Officials are widening their scope of investigations. They've been looking into irregularities in the country's overall port operation business

Yes. Officials at the Korea Shipping Association are suspected to have been giving valuables, possibly including cash as well as presents to authorities at the maritime ministry and to coast guard officials.
The association has been under fire lately for not keeping ferry operators on their toes about abiding by sailing and safety regulations -- for instance, loosely checking cargo loads and the conditions of life-saving equipment on the vessels.
The board president of the association, Joo Sung-ho offered his resignation on this Saturday a day after another official, the chairman of the Korean Register of Shipping, Chon Young-kee offered to step down.


Reporter : jlaah@arirang.co.kr

Comments

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tangiia (New Zealand) 2014-04-27    

Looks like a 'knee-jerk' reaction by authorities, arrest everyone for the sake of the families and media! Then later look at the evidence!! Justice in action..

fatboyme (USA) 2014-04-27    

Look out now.