President Park Geun-hye apologized on Tuesday to the public for the ferry disaster that continues to grip the nation.
During a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the president apologized to the people for the government's inability to prevent the accident in the first place, and its handling of the situation early on.
"I am sorry and heavy-hearted that so many precious lives were lost due to this accident."
She said efforts to find the dozens of victims who remain unaccounted for is the most important task right now.
To make sure such an incident doesn't take place again, President Park said she would create a national safety ministry under the Prime Minister's Office.
Once established, it would systematically and efficiently manage responses to both natural and man-made disasters.
"Regarding national disasters, I will set up a national safety ministry under the direct control of the Prime Minister's Office to prevent confusion in the command structure. The ministry will integrate and coordinate tasks among relevant ministries."
Earlier in the day, President Park Geun-hye visited the Ansan Hwarang Memorial Hall where an altar has been set up for the victims of the ferry accident.
She paid her respects to those that lost their lives and spoke to some of their families.
Park Ji-won, Arirang News.