Sewol Crew Appeal Jail Sentences

The captain of the sunken South Korean ferry Sewol, who has been sentenced to 36 years of prison for gross negligence, has joined two other crew members of the ill-fated ferry in filing an appeal to their respective verdicts, Yonhap news agency cited court officials as saying Monday.

Joon-seok was charged with homicide by the prosecutors, however the judges of the Gwangju District Court acquitted him on that charge, proclaiming him guilty of gross negligence.

The Sewol captain and three of his crew members were put on homicide trial five months ago as they were the first to abandon the ferry when it listed and started to sink, failing to rescue hundreds of passengers on board.

The ship’s chief engineer received a 30-year prison sentence while thirteen other crew members were sentenced to up to 20 years in jail.

According to the statement issued by the crew members’ lawyers, the appeals were filed with the court in succession on Thursday, Friday and Monday, Yonhap said.

In addition, the prosecutors who were asking for death penalty, appealed to the verdict as well.

The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) said in a reaction last week to the verdict that the sentence handed down to Captain Lee Joon-Seok is “excessive and unjust”.

David Heindel, seafarers’ section chair of ITF said that the ITF seafarers’ section committee would consider an “appropriate ongoing response to this tragic matter.”

The South Korean officials ended the search for the remains of the nine missing victims of the Sewol tragedy at the beginning of this month.

The accident claimed the lives of 295 passengers, mainly high school students.

World Maritime News Staff

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