Questions mount in South Korean ferry disaster; hundreds still missing

Jindo, South Korea (CNN) — Anguished relatives of missing South Korean ferry passengers waited somberly for answers Thursday as rescuers fought bad weather, murky water, darkness and time to find a way deep into the capsized ship.

Authorities believe 276 people — many of them high school students on a field trip — may remain trapped inside the five-story ship. At least some, authorities say, could still be alive more than a day after the ship rolled over.

Meanwhile, the ferry’s captain is facing mounting questions about the incident.

Among other things, authorities are investigating the possibility the ship was off course when it ran into trouble, as well as reports that few of its lifeboats made it into the water, according to Kim Soo Hyeon, the chief of South Korea’s Yellow Sea Maritime Police Agency.

Ferry captain Lee Joon Suk, his head and face covered, broke down in tears when reporters asked if he had anything to say.

“I am sorry, I am at a loss for words,” Lee said at a South Korean Coast Guard office.

At least 20 people are known dead, according to the South Korean Ministry of Security and Public Administration. As of Thursday night, at least 179 had been rescued.

Weather hinders rescue

More than 170 ships and 512 divers have swarmed the ferry about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Jindo, South Korea, harbor where relatives have gathered.

But poor conditions have kept rescuers from reaching parts of the ship where air pockets could be sustaining survivors, authorities said.

Can they survive in air pockets?

Relentless rain, whipping winds and thick fog stymied rescue efforts Thursday. Three of the 22 volunteer divers who joined the search went missing in high tide but were later found, YTN said.

Efforts to pump air into the ship also failed because of the bad weather.

Despite government assurances that rescuers would work around the clock to save lives, some relatives were angry about the pace of the rescue operation.

“If the government cares for the people, our family, our children, please rescue our families and our children,” said Chang Min, whose second-grade son is among the missing.

‘Don’t move’

The ferry, which is designed to carry cargo and vehicles as well as passengers, was on a routine passage between Incheon and the resort island of Jeju when something went awry shortly before 9 a.m. Wednesday.
On board were more than 300 Seoul high school students and teachers on a four-day trip to the island.

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Costa Concordia Trial: Captain Schettino ‘Jumped in Lifeboat’

Captain Francesco Schettino jumped into a lifeboat and abandoned the Costa Concordia minutes before his cruise liner capsized off the Italian island of Giglio, a court has heard. Concordia midshipman Stefano Iannelli told a court in Grosseto, Tuscany, that Schettino did not fell from the liner, as the captain and his defence team maintained, but boarded a lifeboat and safely made his way to shore while passengers struggled in the water. Iannelli said that as the Concordia was being evacuated after it hit a rock he was helping people off the vessel with a rescue team on the fourth deck of the starboard side.

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Costa Concordia pulled completely upright off Italy

The crippled Costa Concordia cruise ship was pulled completely upright early Tuesday after a complicated, 19-hour operation to wrench it from its side where it capsized last year off Tuscany, with officials declaring it a “perfect” end to a daring and unprecedented engineering feat.

“We completed the parbuckling operation a few minutes ago the way we thought it would happen and the way we hoped it would happen,” said Franco Porcellacchia, project manager for the Concordia’s owner, Costa Crociere SpA.

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Costa Concordia trial hears details of victims’ deaths

The Italian court trying the captain of the Costa Concordia has heard grim details about how the 32 victims of the shipwreck drowned, some after diving or falling into the sea from the capsized cruise liner when lifeboats were no longer accessible. A court official read out the names of the deceased passengers and crew members and described how each one died, quoting verbatim from the indictment of the Concordia’s captain, Francesco Schettino.

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Costa Concordia’s Francesco Schettino ‘thrown off cruise liner’

The captain of the Costa Concordia did not abandon his ship but was inadvertently “thrown” off the cruise liner during a chaotic evacuation, his lawyer has said at the start of a long-anticipated trial. The trial of Capt Francesco Schettino opened in Grosseto, in Tuscany, the nearest city to the island of Giglio, where the giant ship capsized on the night of January 13, 2012, with the loss of 32 lives.
The 52-year-old captain had not deliberately left hundreds of terrified passengers and crew members to their fate but had been “lightly thrown off” the ship by accident, said Domenico Pepe, his lawyer.

Costa Concordia’s Francesco Schettino ‘thrown off cruise liner’ The Telegraph

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Costa Concordia trial could be delayed

A national strike by Italian lawyers could delay the start of the manslaughter trial of the Costa Concordia’s captain, charged for the cruise liner’s deadly shipwreck in January 2012, a court official told AFP.The first hearing will take place as scheduled on Tuesday, but if defendant Francesco Schettino’s lawyers tell the judge they are adhering to the strike, then the trial will get under way only on July 17.

Costa Concordia trial ‘could be delayed’

Fire breaks out aboard Royal Caribbean cruise ship


A fire that broke out aboard a Royal Caribbean ship Monday did enough damage that the rest of the cruise was canceled and the company said the more than 2,200 passengers will be flown from the Bahamas back to Baltimore where the trip began.
The fire that began at 2:50 a.m. Monday was extinguished about two hours later with no injuries reported. A cause wasn’t immediately known. The Grandeur of the Seas, which left Baltimore on Friday, never lost power and was able to sail into port in Freeport, Bahamas, Monday afternoon. It had been planned to be a seven-night cruise.

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Costa Concordia captain denied plea bargain in deadly shipwreck

GROSSETO, Italy – Italian prosecutors on Tuesday rejected a plea bargain bid by the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that ran aground off Italy last year, killing 32 people, defense lawyers said. Capt. Francesco Schettino is accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship before all 4,200 passengers and crew were evacuated.Defense lawyer Francesco Pepe said Schettino had wanted to defend himself at a trial but when the five other defendants in the shipwreck off the Tuscan coast all sought plea bargains during a closed-door hearing Tuesday, his defense team decided to change strategy.

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Francesco Schettino’s offer to plead guilty in return for a sentence of three years and four months is rejected by prosecutors. Skynews
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8 Missing After Cargo Ships Collide

A cargo ship sank off southern Greece after colliding with another freighter Monday, leaving two Syrian seamen dead and eight others missing and spurring a large rescue operation, officials said. The accident between the Consouth and the Piri Reis occurred before 7 a.m. The Antigua-flagged Consouth was Antigua-flagged and the Piri Reis was Cook Islands-flagged .

2 Syrian seamen killed, 8 missing after cargo ships collide off southern Greece Fox News

Second Carnival Cruise Ship Having Trouble at Sea

ABC News ‎-
Another day, another Carnival cruise ship is having issues. The company announced late Thursday night that the Carnival Legend, currently off the coast of Honduras, is unable to sail at its optimal speed because of a technical problem, forcing the ship to cut short passengers’ vacation. The Carnival Legend has canceled its visit to Grand Cayman today so it can immediately return to its homeport in Tampa Bay, Fla., according to a news release. The Legend is on the last leg of a seven-day Caribbean cruise that departed Tampa March 10.

Second Carnival Cruise Ship Having Trouble at Sea ABC News
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Another Carnival Cruise ship malfunctions at sea, the second time this week. Passengers on The Carnival Legend won’t be able to stop at the Grand Cayman Islands, due to technical issues with the ship’s thrusters. The beleaguered cruise company’s Carnival Dream was also plagued with troubles earlier this week. NY Daily News
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