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Head of Sewol owning company arrested on negligence charges

Head of Sewol owning company arrested on negligence charges
Kim Han-sik, head of Chonghaejin Marine, the company that owns the sunken Sewol ferry, has been arrested.

Following the news that Sewol was loaded with 3,608 tons of cargo, more than three times the safe limit, Kim was detained by South Korean prosecutors earlier today over allegations that he was aware of the ferry’s overloading. Kim told television reporters “I apologise to the victims and the families”, as he was taken into custody.

The vessel was carrying 476 passengers and crew at the time of the sinking, 339 of who were children and teachers on a school trip. 174 survivors have been rescued.

Further investigations aboard sister ship Ohamana following Sewol's sinking found that 40 life rafts, as well as escape chutes and cargo lashing systems, were not functional.

Kim is one a number of arrests associated with the disaster, with Captain Lee Joon-seok and 14 other crew members arrested on a range of charges up to and possibly including negligent homicide.

The news follows the decision of the chairman of Sewol’s classifier Korean Register to resign last week, to “ease the pain and sorrow of the Korean people and the families who lost their loved ones on board 'Sewol'”, after a police raid on KR's offices.