Ferry Sewol Crew Member Admits to Drinking Beer

luvsmiling, Sept. 6, 2014, 12:34 p.m.

The trial for the crew members of the ferry Sewol is currently under way.  Sewol Ferry captain Lee Jeong Seok and three crew members faced charges of homicide.  During the trial it was discovered that one crew member, Mr. Sohn, revealed that he had been drinking beer while the ship was sinking instead of evacuating the passengers.

At Gwangju Court, Mr. Sohn admitted, "[Just as the ship started sinking] I was in another crew member's room on the third floor hallway and brought one can of beer to share with that crew member."

Families present at court were reported to be infuriated by this news, asking Mr. Sohn,  "Would you like a beer now, too?"

The prosecutor was also baffled, asking, "Why would you drink alcohol when you have hundreds of passengers on board a sinking ship?"

Mr. Sohn explained, "Because I was in a state of emotional frenzy, I drank one [beer] to calm down."

The prosecutor had other ideas, however, asking, "Isn't it because you were able to secure the best position to escape; therefore, you were using that spare time to drink?"

Mr. Sohn replied, "I didn't think I would be so easily saved."

The prosecutor continued to push for an explanation as he asked, "The captain didn't give you orders and you didn't announce to the passengers about the rescue; is that just?"

Mr. Sohn replied, "It was my duty [to follow captain's orders]. [...] As soon as an accident occurs the very first thing that happens is either the captain or some other mate issues instructions at the pilot seat, but this time there were no instructions given."

As to why no instructions were given, Captain Lee Jeon Seok as well as the other crew members claimed that they had thought it was the coastguard's responsibility to evacuate and save the passengers, not theirs. When questioned why he had not checked to make sure the vessel was safe before allowing passengers to board, Lee Jeon Seok replied that he was just following established practice, which did not involve a safety check.

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