Korea Ferry, the Same Old Story

illus-catwater-tnKorea Ferry, the Same Old Story

Inexperienced officer, poor crew training and dangerous waters. I’ve seen it in dozens of articles, dozens of accident reports for one sinking or another.

Sometimes you get the impression that humankind doesn’t learn, it just makes the same mistakes over and over again. This looks like another repeat of another set of common mistakes.

The extra tragedy here is that the vessel was full of schoolchildren.

Current information suggests that the ship struck nothing – it made too tight a turn, the load shifted and it developed a list and then sank.

Essentially, the crew killed the ship by putting it past its design limitations.

If you have enough poor judgement, you don’t need a rock, a strong current, a act of God, the stupidity is enough.

We in business ethics have to become inured to this. In this field, the practitioner can become jaded to human stupidity, human unwillingness to change. But we are also in a sense guardians of morality and justice. This devotion to a higher duty should enable us to suffer through the appalling consequences of the seeing same mistake over and over again.

James Pilant

South Korea ferry disaster: third mate ‘steering in tricky waters for first time’ | World news | The Observer

The South Korean ferry that sank off the country’s coast on Wednesday, with the likely loss of more than 300 passengers, was being steered by an inexperienced young officer who was navigating the area, which is notorious for its fast currents, for the first time.

The revelation lends weight to the theory that a series of errors by senior crew members caused the Sewol to list and capsize, prompting a major rescue operation and questions about safety measures as South Korea struggled to with one of the worst maritime disasters in its history.

The crew appeared underprepared to deal with a serious incident at sea amid reports that the vessel’s owner, Chonghaejin, had not given them guidance in how to execute a swift evacuation. There were not enough life jackets to go around, and footage of the aftermath showed that only two of more than 40 lifeboats had been deployed.

The parents of hundreds of children missing aboard the sunken ferry, meanwhile, are confronting the grim reality that attempts to bring their sons and daughters out alive have failed. A mixture of grief and anger has gripped South Korea since the ship capsized and sank, with the probable loss of around 300 mostly teenage passengers.

The palpable anguish of the relatives of dead and missing passengers – many of them high school pupils on a trip to the resort island of Jeju – is matched only by contempt for the crew and the chaotic response by the authorities.

South Koreans awoke on Saturday to the news that the ship’s embattled captain, Lee Joon-seok, had been arrested, along with the third mate, 25-year-old Park Han-kyul, who was steering the vessel at the time of the accident, and helmsman Cho Joon-ki, 55.

via South Korea ferry disaster: third mate ‘steering in tricky waters for first time’ | World news | The Observer.

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From the web site, The Have a Good Day Blog.


My heart is pained by the news of the Korean ferry boat sinking. For those who do not know, a ferry boat with more than 450 passengers capsized and sank. Most of the passengers were high school students, and even to this moment almost 300 of them are trapped in the sunken ship.

My numbers are not exact, and the little amount of information I have is from Korean media sites and news clips. Apparently the ferry quickly capsized and the passengers were told over the speaker system to stay put. After sending out this “stay calm” message, most of the workers on the ferry including the captain promptly ditched the boat. The ship has several lifeboats, but only one was actually put to use, leaving the passengers unaware of their dangerous situation and stranded on a sinking boat.

I am extremely saddened and angered at the Korean media, who are currently pestering the survivors (there was a clip revealed of a reporter interrogating a six year old girl about her parents, and he continued to tactlessly ask her questions after she told him she was rescued alone – I mean, she lost her parents, just give her a break!) as well as the parents of the students. There is another clip going viral in the Korean Facebook community of several heartbroken and worried parents sobbing and begging/swearing at the cameras to stop filming and give them peace, but the spotlight chasing news cameras kept on filming their cries. Such brutality makes me feel sick.