South Korean Fishing Ship Sinks, Over 50 Feared Dead

Pribilof Islands

Not less than 50 crew members from a South Korean fishing ship which sank in the western Bering Sea are feared dead after Tuesday’s ship wreck. Angry relatives blamed the ship’s captain and its owner for not doing enough to save their family members from the frigid waters a day earlier. AP covers the story:

Russian coast guard helicopters and at least five fishing ships were scouring the area in search of the missing, with authorities finding at least one empty lifeboat Tuesday. Officials from the ship’s South Korean parent company said they were hanging onto a “glimmer of hope,” but with continued rough seas and bad weather, there were dwindling expectations that the fishermen would be found.

At a gathering at the company’s headquarters, relatives of the missing fishermen wondered whether the captain was too late in taking emergency measures after the ship started sinking amid high waves Monday. Some blamed Sajo Industries, the canned tuna company that owns the ship, for not ordering him to evacuate the vessel earlier, according to Kim Kang-ho, a company official.

“Stop blaming the captain! The company should have ordered an evacuation in such a crisis,” a person believed to be a relative was seen in TV footage shouting at a company official.

The emotional scenes of grief and anger hit a nerve in a country less than eight months removed from its deadliest maritime disaster in decades. The sinking of the Sewol ferry off South Korea’s southwestern coast in April left more than 300 passengers dead, mostly teenagers on a school trip, causing nationwide grief and fury.

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