South Korean PM Chung Hong-Won resigns over ferry disaster
South Korean prime minister Chung Hong-Won has resigned over claims that his government did not take appropriate action following the 16th April ferry disaster.
The families of those on board the ferry have criticised Mr Hong-Won for what they believe to be a slow recovery operation.
In a brief televised statement, the PM apologised to his countrymen and said: “The cries of the families of those missing still keep me up at night. I hope these deep routed evils get corrected this time and this kind of accident never happens again. The right thing for me to do is to take responsibility and resign as a person who is in charge of the cabinet.”
The Sewol ferry with 476 people aboard – most of them students and teachers – sank off on 16th April on its routine trip south from the port of Inchen to the island of Jeju.
Officials have confirmed 187 dead, but with over 100 passengers yet to be found, the search for bodies still continues.
Bad weather conditions with strong winds are affecting the recovery operation as divers search for bodies.
A coastguard spokesman said: “The situation is very difficult due to the weather, but we are continuing search efforts, using the occasional calmer periods.”
South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that president Park Geun-Hye has accepted Mr Hong-Won’s resignation but did not set a last day in the office. It is believed that the PM will remain in his post until the disaster is under control.
The reason for the disaster is still unclear. However, all 15 crew members responsible for the navigation of the ferry are in custody and facing criminal negligence charges.