Korean ferry disaster: Day 22Updated: 2014-05-07 18:01:39 (KST)
Three weeks have passed since the Sewol-ho ferry capsized off the southwestern coast of Korea.
For more, we have Kim Ji-yeon at the news center.
While the search for the missing continues, the investigations as to why and how the ferry sank are proceeding and its turns out the operator of the ferry had a bad record, right?
The prosecutors arrested 19 people related to the ferry sinking, including 15 crew members and four officials from the Chonghaejin Marine Company.
The investigations, up until now, focused on the employees of the ferry operator and officials of the ferry operator for overloading cargo onto the ferry which eventually led it to capsize.
The Chonghaejin Marine Company was found to have the highest number of accidents among ferry operators in Korea, for the past five years.
According to data by the Korea Coast Guard, the ferry operator had six accidents from 2009 to 2013, which makes up around 10-percent of all ferry accidents.
Now, the investigation is expected to expand to other areas including inspectors over the device and process of binding the cargo on-board, those in charge of maintenance of the faulty life boats and the restructuring of the ferry.
So authorities are proceeding their investigations, presuming that the ferry operator had knowledge that there were potential problems with vessel?
That may be the case.
Prosecutors found that the ferry operator tried to sell the Sewol-ho ferry on-line in March at a price of around 16 million U.S. dollars.
At least one buyer from the Philippines wished to buy the ferry.
During the sale, the ferry operator did not reveal to its broker that it may be unstable and could quickly recover its balance since it was renovated so that more space would be available for cargo and passengers.
Prosecutors are trying to prove that the ferry operator knew of the faults beforehand and wanted to sell it off.
Ji-yeon, how could the ferry operator's actions go undetected?
Prosecutors think that there was some wrongdoing in relation to the safety inspection of ferry operators and that some were bribed in exchange for lax inspection.
An official of the Korea Shipping Association, which oversees the shipping industry, was arrested today over suspicions of taking bribes from ferry operators like the Chonghaejin Marine Company in exchange for overlooking insurance fraud.
The nonprofit organization is in charge of inspecting and certifying vessels on behalf of the government.
Ji-yeon, we all know that the search operations are very dangerous for all involved, underscored by the death of an experienced diver yesterday. What is being done to ensure the safety of the rescue divers today?
More medical staff have been deployed at the accident site.
Up until now, there was only one emergency technician on the boat that served as a station for the divers before they went into the water.
Additional medical staff were some 900 meters away from the ferry site, but there was criticism that transporting an injured diver to that location would be a waste of precious time.
The change comes after a civilian diver died while searching for the bodies that remain unaccounted for.
I'll be back with more updates in later newscasts.
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