Oceans Minister ‘was informed’ about discovery of Sewol victim‘s bone

Nov 24, 2017, 09:00 am

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South Korea's Oceans and Fisheries Minister has apologized Thursday for the ministry's concealment of a discovery of a human bone fragment from the Sewol ferry./ Source: Yonhap News

By AsiaToday reporter Kang Tae-yoon 

There is a growing controversy on Oceans and Fisheries Ministry's concealment of a discovery of a piece of bone believed to be part from one of the missing victims of the sunken ferry Sewol.

In particular, Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Kim Young-choon will find it difficult to avoid responsibility since he was found to have been informed Monday of the discovery of the remains.

The Sewol search team discovered the bone from Sewol ferry last Friday, but did not report it for five days.
In a briefing held at the government complex in Sejong on Thursday, minister Kim said, "I was informed about the discovery from the head of the Sewol search team Lee Cheol-jo on Monday. I instructed him to contact according to the procedures of notifying the bones when found."

However, it was only Tuesday when the ferry Sewol search team explained the situation to the Sewol investigation commission, and on Wednesday it sent the bone to the National Forensic Service for identification.

When asked whether minister Kim had confirmed his instructions, he said, "I just thought the instructions were being implemented." He explained, "It was Wednesday when I found that the discovery was not informed to the family members of Sewol victims, and dismissed Sewol search team chief Kim Hyun-tae."

In response to alleged concealment, the minister said, "The field operation chief prejudged that the bone would belong to one of the victims already found." He said, "I was informed that he didn't want to bother the families on the day before the funeral ceremony."

According to the internal inspection, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries informed the discovery of the bone only to mothers of Jo Eun-hwa and Heo Da-yoon on Tuesday. The ministry informed to other families of missing Sewol victims after the joint memorial service of missing victims on Wednesday.

Minister Kim Young-choon said, "I sincerely apologize to the missing victims' families who've hurt their feelings." He added, "I will definitely bring those who are responsible to account for their mistakes."

#concealment #Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries #Sewol ferry #victims 
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