SEOUL, May 19 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye made an official apology once again for one of the country's deadliest maritime disaster on Monday, vowing a reform in officialdom and safety response system.
"As president responsible for the people's lives and safety, I sincerely apologize for the pains the people have suffered," Park said in her first televised statement to the nation. "The ultimate responsibility for failing to properly respond to this accident lies with me."
Park made her apology for the accident four times since the 6, 825-ton passenger ferry Sewol capsized and sank off the southwestern island of Jindo on April 16, but it was the first time she offers an apology in the form of a national statement.
On the 34th day into search, 286 people have been confirmed dead and 18 others still remain missing. No survivors have been reported since 172 people were saved from the ship and sea on the day the ferry sank.
Park said the coast guard's rescue operations actually failed in the ferry sinking accident, noting that after much contemplation, she reached a conclusion that the coast guard will be disbanded.
The Ministry of Security and Public Administration will focus solely on the task of public administrations, and the task of maritime guard and rescue will be transferred to the tentatively named "National Safety Office" that will be launched and serve as a control tower of rescue operations.
The task of marine transport control center from the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries will also be moved to the National Safety Office, Park said.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Monday that the country's coast guard will be disbanded on its failure to appropriately respond to the ferry sinking disaster.
Park said in her first nationally televised statement to the nation that the coast guard's rescue operations actually failed in the ferry sinking accident, noting that after much contemplation, she reached a conclusion that the coast guard will be disbanded. Full story
Prosecutors in South Korea sought a preliminary arrest warrant for the de facto owner of the sunken South Korean ferry after he disobeyed summons, local media reported on Friday, citing prosecutors.
The district prosecutors' office in the western port city of Incheon asked Yoo Byung-eon to appear at the office by 10 a.m. Friday, but Yoo, 73, who is believed to control Chonghaejin Marine, the sunken ship's operator, disobeyed it without any proper explanations. Full story