Eldest son of late owner of Sewol ordered to pay compensation

A South Korean court has ordered the eldest son of the late owner of the Sewol ferry to compensate the government for the disaster. The ferry sank on April 16th 2014, killing more than 300 people, mostly school students.

The government had sued Yoo Dae-kyun, son of the late Yoo Byung-eun, for $3.1m to cover some of the costs involved in coping with the disaster. That included compensation to the families of the victims, reported Yonhap news agency. However, the court ruled that Yoo need pay only about $650,000. The court said that

ferry operator Chonghaejin Marine should be targeted for further compensation. The government was said to have spent $174m coping with the aftermath of the disaster.

The accident was partly the result of an illegal redesign, partly because of cargo overload, partly due to negligence by crew members, and partly because of slow rescue efforts. Sewol’s captain Lee Jun-seok was sentenced to life in prison, having been found to have left the ship “fully aware that passengers would drown.” The captain left the vessel while loudspeaker announcements were still instructing passengers to stay in their cabins. Fourteen lower ranking crewmembers were found guilty of lesser offences, and were jailed for between two and 12 years.

Shanghai Salvage continues to try to salvage the sunken vessel intact in hopes of finding the bodies of nine missing Sewol victims. The complex operation is expected to be completed this year.