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Posts Tagged ‘sinking’

Labor exporters ordered to help sailors from sinking boat in Antarctica

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:28 am

After 11 Vietnamese fishermen were reportedly dead or missing from an incident in a Korean fishing ship off Antarctica, the Department of Overseas Labor has ordered five companies that dispatch Vietnamese laborers to work in overseas, to assist and help the victims’ families.

The grandmother of sailor Nguyen Tuong wailed in mourning after receiving the bad news of her grandson (Photo: SGGP)

The 11 Vietnamese fishermen, who predominantly from the central province of Ha Tinh, were sent by five Vietnamese labor agencies: LOD Human Resource Development Corporation, Traenco Labor Export Center, Civil Engineering Construction Corporation No.1, Southern Waterborne Transport Stock Corporation and the Tourist, Trade and Labor Export Joint Stock Company (TTLC).

Under the order, labor export companies must dispatch men to South Korea to work with concerning sides to confirm the identities of the dead and the missing and assist rescued sailors.

Staffs on duty have to contact with the Consular Department, part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Consulate of Vietnam in the Republic of Korea and New Zealand.

Companies should tell sailors’ families about their condition as well as support families of the dead and the missing to help them overcome current difficulties.

For rescued sailors, companies must ask boat owner to take revivers to hospitals for treatment. Companies must finish all formalities to bring survivors back to the country safely.

For the dead individuals, companies were asked to hold funeral ceremonies and the Labor exporters must pay any wages, bonuses and other welfare entitlements to the relative’s families.

So far, five have been confirmed dead and 17 others still missing and presumed dead. This was after a South Korean deep-sea trawler with eight Koreans, eight Chinese, 11 Vietnamese, 11 Indonesians, three Filipinos and one Russian sank 1,850 km north of Antarctica — halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica.

Of the 42-strong crew on the 614-DWT trawler, a 24-year-old sailor, Nguyen Tuong, from district Ky Anh in the central province of Ha Tinh has been confirmed dead. His mother, Dang Thi Lan, 75, is still mourning for her son.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Van Son aged 28, from the district Ky Anh in Ha Tinh province, Nguyen Van Thanh aged 21 and Nguyen Van Son aged 25, both from Ky Anh district in Ha Tinh province, are missing and presumed dead. They were not wearing any protective clothing and the temperature there is extremely hostile – 2o Celsius.

Nguyen Minh Hoan, deputy head of district Ky Anh People’s Committee, said most of sailors in the boat have harsh living conditions. Their relatives had borrowed bank loans to pay for labor exporters. They hoped to make money after two or five years of labor. Their deaths left big debts for relatives.

Source: SGGP

N.Korea ready to provide torpedo sample over warship sinking

In Uncategorized on November 2, 2010 at 8:43 am

Death toll rises to 18 in India ferry sinking

In Uncategorized on October 31, 2010 at 11:12 am

Two more bodies were pulled out of a fast-flowing river in eastern India on Sunday taking the death toll to 18 after an overcrowded ferry capsized and sank, with scores of people still missing.

Coastguard and navy vessels searched for further victims of the ferry accident, which took place on Saturday morning in West Bengal state.

“We now have collected 18 bodies from the river which is wide and turbulent, and we are uncertain of exactly how many more people are missing,” senior state police officer Surojit Karpurokayastha told AFP.

The vessel, which was carrying around 150 people, capsized in a river in the Sundarbans mangrove forest, 120 kilometres (75 miles) south of Kolkata, capital of West Bengal.

The boat had the capacity of just 60 passengers, officials said, but was badly overloaded.

The passengers, who were mainly farmers and fishermen, were returning from a Muslim religious function when the accident occurred.

Naval fishing vessels, hovercraft and helicopters joined the rescue operation when the search was restarted at dawn on Sunday, the Press Trust of India said, adding the victims were 15 women and three girls.

It said the exact spot where the ferry sank had yet to be established.

Some television news channel reported that more than 100 people were missing, but officials dismissed the number.

“I only remember a big tide and then everything was blank. I had my son sitting beside me. But right now I don’t know where he is,” Ajmal Sheikh, 23, told the IANS news agency.

Press reports said the boat had turned over after hitting a sand bank in rough conditions.

The ferry was one of five vessels making their way to Kakdwip from Khejuri when it sank in the Muriganga River off Ghoramara Island.

“The boat was badly overcrowded and the vessel sank after a giant wave slapped the side of the vessel,” West Bengal civil defence minister Srikumar Mukherjee told AFP.

Fishermen plucked at least 60 survivors from the water while others managed to swim to safety, police said.

“The river’s strong current is hampering the search operation,” Mukherjee said.

Anxious relatives were keeping vigil for news of their loved ones.

Rescuers erected floodlights on the river’s banks to make the search easier at night, but authorities feared that many of the victims had been swept away by the current.

Boat accidents are common in the South Asian subcontinent due to lax safety standards and overloading.

A similar ferry accident occurred in the same river in September, leaving two dozen people dead.
Source: SGGP

N.Korea sought summit after warship sinking: report

In Uncategorized on August 19, 2010 at 7:21 am

SEOUL, Aug 19, 2010 (AFP) – North Korea proposed a summit with South Korea even after tensions mounted dramatically over the deadly sinking of one of Seoul’s warships, a newspaper reported.

North Korea made the proposal last month in an apparent bid to secure economic aid from South Korea but the idea was rejected by Seoul, the Dong-A Ilbo newspaper reported Wednesday, quoting an unnamed high-ranking official.

“North Korea sent us a request to hold an inter-Korean summit even after it sank the (warship),” the official said, referring to what South Korea says was an attack by North Korea on a corvette in March that killed 46 sailors.

“This is its typical carrot-and-stick strategy. North Korea superficially proclaims military retaliation against sanctions imposed on it, while suggesting an inter-Korean summit under the table.”

But the South’s unification ministry denied the report.

“The report is not true,” spokeswoman Lee Jong-Joo told reporters. “North Korea has yet to change its attitude.”

South Korean police SWAT team members run past an exhibit mascot during an anti-terror drill as part of a joint US-South Korean military exercise in Seoul on August 18, 2010. AFP

Pyongyang had wanted Seoul to resume economic assistance before any summit between President Lee Myung-Bak and its leader Kim Jong-Il, Dong-A said.

It called for a summit last December, designating then South Korean labour minister Yim Tae-Hee as dialogue partner, but Seoul failed to give a clear answer to Pyongyang for months, the paper said.

Yim, one of Lee’s close confidants, reportedly held a secret meeting with a North Korean official in Singapore late last year in an unsuccessful attempt to arrange a summit.

After Yim became chief of presidential staff last month, the North asked Seoul to send someone to the North’s border city of Kaesong for discussions on the proposed summit, Dong-A said.

A South Korean official did travel to Kaesong but told North Korean officials that Seoul would not accept Pyongyang’s proposal, citing cross-border tensions, it said.

Seoul and Pyongyang have been engaged in a war of words since the March sinking of the Cheonan near the disputed sea border, which a multinational inquiry found was caused by a North Korean torpedo.

The two neighbours held a first-ever summit in 2000 and a second followed in 2007, when Seoul’s left-leaning leaders were practising a “sunshine” aid and engagement policy with Pyongyang.

Lee, a conservative, took office in 2008 and linked major aid to progress in the North’s nuclear disarmament, sparking anger in Pyongyang. Nevertheless, the impoverished North put out peace feelers about a year ago.

In a speech Sunday, Lee outlined a three-step plan for reunification with the North, starting with Pyongyang giving up its nuclear arsenal.

But the North blasted Lee’s plan as “ridiculous rhetoric to force the DPRK (North Korea) to disarm itself”.

“The vituperations let loose by the traitor are tantamount to a declaration of an all-out confrontation to bring down the system in the DPRK,” the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said in a statement Tuesday.

South Korea and the United States launched their annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint exercises Monday, the latest in a series being staged by the South either alone or with the US.

The Pentagon on Wednesday confirmed a South Korean press report that Washington and Seoul were planning a joint anti-submarine exercise in the Yellow Sea in September.

“We are going to continue a series of exercises that are of a defensive nature and are designed to send a clear message to North Korea,” said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.

“The next exercise in that series will focus on anti-submarine warfare. The exercise will be conducted in the waters off the western coast of the Korean peninsula and begin early next month.”

The North’s foreign ministry warned Wednesday that Pyongyang “is ready both for dialogue and war and has all means and methods to defend itself”.

“The US and the South Korean authorities should understand that there is a critical point in the tension, too, and should not calculate they can evade the blame for the explosive situation,” a ministry spokesman said, in a statement quoted by state media.

Source: SGGP

11 killed, dozens missing in Indonesia boat sinking: govt

In Uncategorized on August 9, 2010 at 11:21 am

KUPANG, Aug 9, 2010 (AFP) – At least 11 people were killed and more than 30 are missing after a passenger boat went down in waters off eastern Indonesia on Monday, the country’s search and rescue agency said.

“We have found 11 dead bodies and still look for about 32 people that went missing,” National Search and Rescue Agency spokesman Gagah Prakoso told AFP.

At least 11 people were killed and dozens are missing after a passenger boat went down in waters off eastern Indonesia (AFP photo)

The boat set sail carrying about 60 passengers at 07.30 am (2330 GMT on Sunday) and capsized two hours later off Flores island, in East Nusa Tenggara province, he said.

Local police chief Abdul Rahma Aba said that the inter-island vessel was struck by high waves which caused panic among passengers before it capsized about two miles from shore.

Prakoso said that 17 passengers were found alive and searchers including local fishermen continued to hunt for survivors.

The Indonesian archipelago of more than 17,000 islands is heavily dependent on maritime services but its safety record is poor, and fatal accidents are common.

Up to 335 people were killed when a heavily overloaded ferry sank off Sulawesi island in January last year. In December 2006 a ferry went down in a storm off the coast of Java, killing more than 500 people.

Source: SGGP

N.Korea to hold more talks with US military on ship sinking

In Uncategorized on July 29, 2010 at 11:18 am

SEOUL, July 29, 2010 (AFP) – North Korea and the US-led United Nations Command will hold more talks Friday about the sinking of a South Korean warship, two days after the end of a major military exercise denounced by Pyongyang.

Colonels from the two sides will meet at 10 am (0100 GMT) at the border truce village of Panmunjom, the UN Command said in a statement.

South Korean army officers gather as they plan a military exercise in Seoul on July 28, 2010. AFP

Cross-border tensions have risen sharply since South Korea and the United States accused the North in late May of torpedoing the ship near the disputed inter-Korean border with the loss of 46 lives.

US and South Korean forces Wednesday wrapped up a four-day naval and air exercise — the first in a series — which they said was intended to warn the North against further attacks.

“These defensive, combined training exercises are designed to send a clear message to North Korea that its aggressive behavior must stop,” said General Walter Sharp in a statement.

Sharp commands the 28,500 US troops in South Korea as well as heading the UN Command, which has been based in the South since the end of the 1950-53 war to enforce the armistice which ended the conflict.

North Korea vehemently denies any role in sinking the Cheonan corvette in March, but agreed to hold talks with the UN Command about the incident. It fiercely denounced this week’s war games and threatened military retaliation.

At a previous meeting at Panmunjom the North demanded to send a high-level team to the South to inspect evidence dredged from the seabed.

Seoul has displayed part of what it says is a North Korean torpedo to support its contention that its neighbour was to blame for the warship attack.

It has rejected the North’s demand to send investigators, saying the UN Command should handle the case as a serious breach of the armistice.

When the talks were last held on July 23, the two sides discussed forming a joint group to assess the circumstances of and evidence on the sinking.

Source: SGGP

S.Korea to send envoy to China over warship sinking

In Uncategorized on June 7, 2010 at 10:25 am

SEOUL, June 7, 2010 (AFP) – South Korea will send an envoy to China this week to seek support for its campaign for the UN Security Council to censure North Korea over the sinking of a warship, officials said Monday.

Vice Foreign Minister Chun Yung-Woo will visit China for two days from Tuesday, a foreign ministry spokesman told AFP.

Chun visited the United States last week as part of Seoul’s diplomatic drive.

South Korea formally asked the council Friday to respond to North Korea’s sinking of one of its warships in March with the loss of 46 lives, despite the north’s threat of retaliation.

UN ambassador Park In-kook told reporters he handed a letter to the council’s chairman, Mexican ambassador Claude Heller, requesting action “commensurate with the gravity of the situation”.

The South can expect support from the United States, Britain and France but China and Russia, the other two veto-wielding permanent council members, have not publicly stated their position.

A multinational investigation team said last month there was overwhelming evidence that a North Korean submarine fired a torpedo to break the Cheonan in two near the disputed border in March.

Source: SGGP

N.Korea rejects evidence over sinking of S. Korean ship

In Uncategorized on May 29, 2010 at 1:13 pm

 North Korea has flatly rejected evidence showing it torpedoed a South Korean warship with the loss of 46 lives, saying it does not even own a midget submarine allegedly used for the March attack.

The North’s powerful National Defence Commission (NDC), chaired by leader Kim Jong-Il, held a rare press conference on Friday and denied Pyongyang’s involvement, according to official North Korean media.

Major General Pak Rim Su, director of the policy department of the NDC, said the North does not have a 130-tonne “Yeono (salmon)-class” submarine, which the South says torpedoed its 1,200-ton corvette, the Cheonan, in the Yellow Sea.

“We don’t have anything like a 130-tonne Yeono-class submersible,” Pak was quoted by Pyongyang’s Chungang TV as telling reporters.

Salvaged South Korean naval vessel Cheonan, which sank on March 26 near the maritime border with North Korea, is displayed in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on May 19.

A multinational investigation led by Seoul concluded earlier this month that the March 26 sinking was caused by a torpedo attack from the North.

South Korean investigators said a Yeono class midget submarine had intruded into South Korean waters via international waters.

But Pak said: “It does not make any sense militarily that a 130-tonne submersible carrying a heavy 1.7-tonne torpedo travelled through the open sea into the South, sank the ship and returned home.”

But South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted South Korean officials as saying the North’s submarine fleet includes around 10 Yeono class submarines.

Pak also rebutted Seoul’s allegation that salvaged fragments of the torpedo matched design specifications that appeared on brochures the North allegedly sent to an unidentified potential buyer of North Korean torpedoes.

“Who in the world would hand over torpedo designs while selling torpedoes?” he said.

But Yonhap quoted an unidentified senior government official as saying that the South got hold of brochures sent by a North Korean state-run trading company to a potential weapons buyer that contain design specifications of three types of torpedoes.

Senior Colonel Ri Son Gwon dismissed as a “fabrication” a serial number hand-written on a torpedo fragment reading “1 bun” or number one.

South Korea said the serial number handwritten in Korean was strong evidence of Pyongyang’s involvement in the sinking.

“When we put serial numbers on weapons, we engrave them with machines,” Ri said. “We use ‘bun’ only for football or basketball players,” he said.

But South Korean investigators said the North also uses “bun” for numbering things to be assembled, attributing the information to defectors from North Korea.

Pak said the Seoul-led multinational team was not in a position to conduct an objective probe and attacked Seoul for rejecting Pyongyang’s demand to allow its own experts to investigate the cause of the sinking

Source: SGGP

S.Korea says it will make N.Korea pay for sinking

In Uncategorized on May 21, 2010 at 9:14 am

SEOUL, May 21, 2010 (AFP) – Seoul’s defence chief vowed Friday to make North Korea pay for sinking a South Korean warship as international outrage grew over the attack which claimed 46 lives.

“North Korea surpassed the limits and for such an act we will make it pay,” Defence Minister Kim Tae-Young told foreign correspondents.

President Lee Myung-Bak separately described the March 26 torpedo attack on a 1,200-corvette as a breach of the armistice which ended the 1950-53 war but said Seoul’s response would be prudent.

South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak (L) and cabinet members attend an emergency meeting of the National Security Council at the presidential house in Seoul on May 21, 2010. AFP photo

Condemnation of Pyongyang has intensified since a multinational investigation team announced Thursday that a submarine from the North fired a heavy torpedo which split the Cheonan in two.

“This was a serious provocation. There will definitely be consequences,” US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said.

The North, for the second time in two days, denied involvement and accused Seoul of faking the evidence. It has threatened “all-out war” in response to any attempt to punish it.

Investigators said parts of a torpedo salvaged from the seabed match those used by the North.

The defence ministry Friday again put the salvaged propellors and other items on display inside a glass case during a briefing to back up its claims.

Experts pointed out similarities between the salvaged weaponry and a blueprint the North has used when exporting such torpedoes. They said explosive residue found on the weaponry matched that on the warship’s hull.

A top military intelligence official said the North apparently launched the attack in revenge for a firefight near the disputed border last November, which left a North Korean patrol boat in flames.

The aim was “to restore honour to the military and boost its morale”, said the director of the Defence Intelligence Agency, Lt Gen Hwang Won-Dong.

Other motives, he said, were to distract people from economic woes, exacerbated by a bungled currency change; to strengthen internal solidarity; to gain leverage in six-party nuclear disarmament talks and to press the Seoul government to soften its cross-border policies.

Minister Kim said Seoul would seek additional sanctions on the North from the United Nations Security Council, among other measures.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Japan Friday and will go on to China and South Korea in a trip expected to focus on rising regional tensions.

President Lee called the first meeting of his National Security Council in almost a year to mull Seoul’s response.

“This is an armed provocation which constitutes a breach of the charter of the United Nations, the armistice agreement and the (1991) inter-Korean framework agreement,” he said.

But South Korea is thought to have ruled out any military counterstrike for fear of triggering full-scale war.

“This incident is so serious and grave an issue that we must be very cautious and prudent in handling it,” Lee said.

South Korea has won sympathy and pledges of support from numerous Western nations as well as Japan.

The North Friday reiterated claims that its neighbour faked the evidence.

“It just produced fragments and pieces of aluminium whose origin remains unknown as ‘evidence’, becoming the target of derision,” a spokesman for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said on official media.

“The puppet group (Seoul government) has created such grave situation on the Korean peninsula that a war may break out right now,” it said, issuing a warning it commonly delivers.

The North said it sees the current situation “as the phase of a war”.

It threatened to respond to any retaliation with a “total freeze” of inter-Korean relations and abrogation of a non-aggression pact.

The US-led United Nations Command (UNC) said Friday it would launch its own inquiry to review the findings of Seoul’s investigation “and determine the scope of armistice violation that occurred in the sinking”.

The command has been in the South since the UN sent an international force to defend it after the Korean War broke out in 1950.

The North wants to send its own team south to assess the evidence.

But South Korea said it should instead attend military talks with the UNC after the command wraps up its inquiry.

Source: SGGP