19 May 2014

Coastguard split after ferry disaster

8:29 pm on 19 May 2014

The South Korean President Park Geun-hye has announced the country's Coastguard is being restructured in the wake of a recent ferry disaster.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye. Photo: AFP

The Sewol sank on 16 April this year killing 281 passengers, most of whom were high school students. Another 23 are still missing. Only 172 passengers survived, including 22 of the 29 crew members.

Ms Park has formally apologised for the sinking in a televised address, the BBC reports. She announced that the Coastguard would be broken up and its duties split between different agencies.

One new safety agency would handle rescue duties, with investigative functions passing to police, she said.

The ferry captain and three members of the crew have been charged with manslaughter. Prosecutors have indicted another 11 crew members for negligence.

An interim investigation found that a sharp turn was the main cause of the sinking.