Go to contents

Korea, China Launch Investigation into Golden Rose Collision

Korea, China Launch Investigation into Golden Rose Collision

Posted May. 16, 2007 07:52,   


The sunken hull of the Golden Rose was found on May 14 after its collision and sinking in Chinese waters. Chinese maritime officials approved plans for a joint search and yesterday afternoon, the Korean Coast Guard dispatched two patrol ships to the area of the collision.

The two patrol ships sent search and rescue teams, including a 1500-ton patrol vessel and a 3000-ton vessel carrying a helicopter. Aboard the ships are ten special rescue team divers. The rescue workers began their search in the area around eight o’clock that night.

This is the first time the Korean Coast Guard has dispatched patrol vessels into foreign waters to execute a search following a maritime accident.

The coast guard stated that a survey ship from the Chinese Ministry of Transportation’s maritime division reported the sinking of the Golden Rose on May 14, around one o’clock in the afternoon. The survey ship reported finding the Korean vessel 38 miles southeast off the coast of Yantai (Latitude 38 degrees 14’ 28”, Longitude 121 degrees 41’ 57”).

The following day, Chinese authorities sent three aircraft and 50 rescue boats to search the area, but efforts were hampered by powerful winds gusting up to 75 km/h. Besides salvaging some life-saving equipment, their attempts were unsuccessful.

The Korean Coast Guard expects Chinese authorities will soon conduct a detailed investigation on the Golden Rose to determine the cause of the collision. In order to ascertain details on the accident and arbitrate responsibility, the body of the freighter needs to be recovered and various factors must be assessed, such as the vessel’s automatic transmitting device, onboard automatic navigation, and damage to the hull. However, the process is not only costly, it may also not be viable due to the sheer weight of the Golden Rose (3849-tons) and her cargo of iron coils (5900-tons).

China will likely use a dive team to take underwater photos of the Golden Rose and conduct an investigation accordingly.

The 22 family members of the missing crew members and 23 employees of the Bugwang Shipping Company, proprietor of the Golden Rose, left Busan yesterday and arrived in Yantai, China.

Family members checked in to the Binhai International Hotel on the outskirts of Yantai. Later in the afternoon, the family members attended a two-hour briefing held by Chinese maritime officials about the accident.

Today, the families will be able to visit the site of the collision on a ship prepared by the Qingdao Consulate General.

Im Gyu-seong (48), older brother of missing crew member, Im Gyu-yong (44), has been appointed as speaker for the group of mourning families. Upon their arrival, he promptly stated, “Since we are here in China, we will focus on finding the answers to any suspicions or questions we have.”

At 4:05 a.m. (3:05 a.m. in Yantai) on May 12, the 3800-ton Korean cargo vessel, Golden Rose, sank after colliding with the 4000-ton Jinseng, a Saint Vincent–registered Chinese freighter, 38 miles southeast off the coast of Yantai.

Since then, captain of the Golden Rose Heo Yong-yoon (58), seven Korean crew members, eight from Myanmar, and one from Indonesia, have all been reported missing.

kchwang@donga.com silent@donga.com