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Korean Freighter Sinks after Colliding with Chinese Vessel

Korean Freighter Sinks after Colliding with Chinese Vessel

Posted May. 14, 2007 07:45,   


A Chinese freighter is being blamed for disrespect for human life after a South Korean freighter sank in a collision with a Chinese vessel in waters off the eastern coast of China early Saturday, leaving all 16 sailors, including seven South Koreans, missing. The Chinese vessel allegedly left the scene without attempting to rescue the sailors.

Chinese authorities, furthermore, failed to comply with law of the sea that required them to report the collision to South Korea immediately after confirming the maritime accident, thus increasing the number of missing sailors.

The South Korean government is also being criticized for its slow response to the incident. Belatedly informed, the government did not set up a response team until early Sunday morning, 21 hours after the incident.

The South Korean Coast Guard and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the Korean freighter identified as the 3,800-ton Golden Rose of Bukwang Shipping Co., collided with the 4,000-ton Chinese freighter Jinsheng before sinking 38 miles southeast off Yentai at 4:05 a.m. on May 12. The 16 sailors missing include captain Huh Yong-yoon (58), seven South Koreans, eight Myanmarese, and one Indonesian.

The Chinese vessel didn’t try to recover the sailors, continued its cruise, and reported the collision to the Chinese maritime authorities when it arrived at Port of Dalian at 11:40 a.m., seven hours after the crash. The South Korean Coast Guard was notified of the incident at 2:00 p.m. from the Bukwang Shipping Co., which was notified of the accident from the Chinese maritime authorities.

The Chinese authorities sent rescue helicopters to the waters at around 2:15 p.m., 11 hours after the incident, to search for the missing sailors, but failed to find any of them.

Some are concerned about possible diplomatic repercussions between Seoul and Beijing since the Chinese authorities allegedly let about 13 hours pass before informing the Korean embassy in China of the collision.

The South Korean Coast Guard said it reported the incident to 29 related authorities including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade at around 8:00 p.m., six hours after it was told about the collision. However, the ministry confirmed the incident from a fax from the Coast Guard only at about 11:30 p.m.

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