American Journal of Applied Sciences

A Note on the Marine Policy of the Ferry Sewol-Ho Disaster in Korea

Joung Keun Cho and Seok Yoon

DOI : 10.3844/ajassp.2015.229.236

American Journal of Applied Sciences

Volume 12, Issue 3

Pages 229-236


The passenger ship Sewol-ho traveling from the port of Incheon to Jeju island tragically capsized and sank off west coast of Jindo island in April of 2014. Of 476 passengers and crew on board the ship, just 172 were rescued and 294 are confirmed dead while 10 bodies remain missing. The tragedy is man made and unparalleled in modern Korean history. Due to such a large-scale disaster, South Korea’s marine and shipping policies are phasing into a critical turning point where policies for South Korea’s marine, shipping and vessels should be focused on substantially supplementing and strengthening disaster countermeasures, safety facilities and safety standards. Therefore, this study diagnoses the cause of damage, present status and issues caused by Sewol-ho disaster, as well as suggests policy improvements the government should drastically work on. Related amendments to law were presented as part of the measures, while establishing the special Sewol Law expected to improve total incompetence is also under discussion. However, the National Assembly has made very slow progress in discussing this. What is more important is to determine who should be responsible, while setting up policies for the following at the earliest moment: Taking preventive measures against reoccurrence in every aspect, preparing for maritime disasters and reinforcing safety standards. Otherwise, there is no bright future for us.


© 2015 Joung Keun Cho and Seok Yoon. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.