Korean Register chief resigns

Dr. Chon Young-Kee Dr. Chon Young-Kee

APRIL 29, 2014 — Korean Register of Shipping Chairman and CEO Dr. Chon Young-Kee has has announced his resignation.

The Korean Register said "Dr. Chon has decided to step down as chief executive of KR to ease the pain and sorrow of the Korean people and the families who lost their loved ones on board Sewol. The thoughts and prayers of all KR staff are with those who have been affected by this tragedy."

As of this morning the official death toll in the ferry capsize disaster had reached 205.

There has been widespread criticism of the safety and inspection practices of both the Korean Register and the Korea Shipping Association (KSA), a trade association for the coastal shipping trade..

Following Sewol's sinking, an investigation of sister ship Ohamana found 40 non-operational life rafts, inadequately maintained escape chutes and missing lashing equipment.

Although KR's offices in Busan have been raided by South Korean prosecutors, it is the KSA that appears to have been receiving their closest attention. And today prosecutors detained and sought arrest warrants for three officials of the Korea Shipping Association on charges of destroying evidence ahead of a prosecution raid.

The KSA (which should not be confused with the ocean shipping focused Korean Shipowners Association) has authority to inspecting and certifying certain vessels on behalf of the government. It also manages eleven terminals and operates a fuel oil buying scheme, as well as providing P& I insurance.

The KSA approved the Sewol for operation in February after doing a safety check on more than 200 items, prosecutors say.