Sinking of MV Sewol

The sinking of MV Sewol (Korean: 세월호 침몰 사고; Hanja: 世越號沈沒事故),[16] also called the Sewol ferry disaster, occurred on the morning of 16 April 2014, when the ferry MV Sewol was en route from Incheon towards Jeju in South Korea.[17] The 6,825-ton vessel sent a distress signal from about 2.7 kilometres (1.7 mi) north of Byeongpungdo at 08:58 KST (23:58 UTC, 15 April 2014).[18] Out of 476 passengers and crew, 304 died in the disaster, including around 250 students from Danwon High School (Ansan City).[19][20][21] Of the approximately 172 survivors, more than half were rescued by fishing boats and other commercial vessels that arrived at the scene approximately forty minutes before the Korea Coast Guard (KCG).[22]

Sinking of MV Sewol
MV Sewol capsized and sinking, as taken by the Korea Coast Guard on 16 April 2014
Native name 세월호 침몰 사고
Date16 April 2014; 7 years ago (2014-04-16)
TimeAround 9 a.m. to around 11:30 a.m. (KST)
Location1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) off Donggeochado,[1] South Jeolla, South Korea
Coordinates34°13′5″N 125°57′0″E
CauseCenter-of-gravity instability due to overloading of cargo, exacerbated by multiple right turns
Deaths299 on-board[2]
2 rescue divers[3]
5 emergency workers[4]
Property damageCargo: ₩200 billion ($180 million)[5]
Inquest3 separate investigations[6]
SuspectsCaptain and 14 crew members[7]
ChargesHomicide (4 including the captain),[8] Fleeing and abandoning ship (2),[9] Negligence (9)[9]
ConvictionsLife sentence (Captain), 10 years (Chief Engineer), 18 months −12 years (13 other crew)[10]
On board476[11][12][13] (325 Danwon High School students)[14]
Survivors172[15] (171 after the subsequent suicide of the vice principal of Danwon High School)

The sinking of Sewol resulted in widespread social and political reaction within South Korea. Many criticized the actions of the ferry's captain and most of the crew.[23] Also criticized were the ferry's operator, Chonghaejin Marine, and the regulators who oversaw its operations,[24] along with the administration of President Park Geun-hye for her response to the disaster and attempts to downplay government culpability,[25] and the KCG for its poor handling of the disaster, and the perceived passivity of the rescue-boat crew on scene.[26] Outrage has also been expressed against the initial false reporting of the disaster by the government and South Korean media, who claimed everyone aboard had been rescued[27][28] and against the government for prioritizing public image over the lives of its citizens in refusing help from other countries and publicly downplaying the severity of the disaster.[29][30] This disaster has sparked both national and international debate about the South Korean "culture of obedience."[31]

On 15 May 2014, the captain and three crew members were charged with murder, while the other eleven members of the crew were indicted for abandoning the ship.[32] An arrest warrant was also issued for Yoo Byung-eun, the owner of Chonghaejin Marine, but he could not be found despite a nationwide manhunt. On 22 July 2014, police revealed that they had established that a dead man found in a field 415 kilometres (258 mi) south of Seoul was Yoo.[19]