The death toll in the sinking of the Korean passenger ro-ro ferry Sewol has risen to 171 with 130 still missing. The ferry capsized and sank in the Yellow Sea last Wednesday, April 16th, on a voyage from Incheon to the island of Jeju. Of the 476 passengers and crew aboard, 325 were high school students on a four day field trip.
There have been recent reports that the ferry was overloaded. Overloading has contributed to similar ferry disasters. When the Korean ferry Seohae sank in 1993, with the loss of 292, it had been carrying 362 people – 141 passengers and crew in excess of its rated capacity of 221. At least in terms of passengers, this was not the case on the Sewol’s last voyage. There were 476 passengers and crew aboard, well below its rated capacity of more than 900 passengers and 36 crew.