South Korean Ferry Routinely Overloaded, Korean Press Claims

Documents from South Korean media show the ferry that sank in April, killing hundreds, exceeded weight limits nearly every voyage.
Posted at 7:31 PM, May 04, 2014

South Korean media posted shocking reports Sunday on the ferry that sank last month and left more than 300 people missing or dead. According to press, that particular ferry routinely exceeded the cargo limit before voyages. 

"The ferry apparently exceeded its cargo limit on nearly 250 trips, almost every voyage it took in the last 13 months before it sank." (Via KTRK)

According to Time, South Korean press believe that when the ferry sank on April 16 it was dangerously overloaded as "operators reduced its ballast water — vital to maintain stability — to make room for three times more cargo as usual." 

The Korea JoongAng Daily talked to a prosecutor on the investigation team who said, "[The first mate] said that he asked the division head to stop loading cargo because the ship might sink because of its weight... It appears that such a practice was not uncommon.”

So if overloading was so common, why did it take such a tragedy for anyone to notice? 

The cost guard and the Korean Shipping Association are the organizations that monitor actual weight. Then there's the Register of Shipping which also records weight and dictates weight limits. (Via WCAU)

But Bustle notes reports on ship weight issues were only given to the ship's owners. Last year the Register of Shipping reportedly halved the ferry's weight limit. But because the coast guard and the Korean Shipping Association weren't made aware, there was no enforcement.

It's now been about three weeks since the ferry sank and search efforts continue as the families of passengers, whom many were high school kids, wait in agony.

Sunday, the county's president Park Geun-hye visited the victims' families. (Via Voice of America

"And she told relatives that her heart breaks to think about how they must feel." (Via MSNBC)

As of Sunday, the total number of dead stands at 244 with 60 people still missing.