Monday, 7 September 2015

Search on for eight missing after South Korea boat capsize

South Korean coastguard and navy vessels, backed by rescue aircraft, are still searching for eight people missing after a fishing charter boat capsized, leaving 10 passengers dead.

The 9.77-tonne Dolphine, believed to have been carrying 21 passengers, capsized near the southwestern island of Chuja on Saturday night.

Three were rescued by fishermen after holding on to a floating piece of the boat for more than 10 hours, while 10 bodies including the captain were found on Sunday.

More than 70 coastguard, navy and civilian fishing vessels, supported by helicopters and search aircraft, combed the area around the island on Monday.

Many passengers were not wearing life vests when the boat capsized, local media quoted survivors as saying.

A lack of safety measures and inaccurate passenger records prevalent among ship operators were heavily criticised after the Sewol ferry disaster that killed about 300 people in 2014.

Officials had vowed to overhaul public safety and toughen penalties for violations, but critics say little has been done.

"Nothing has changed even after the Sewol," ran the front page headline of the Dong-A newspaper.

It accused the coastguard of a slow and insufficient response and criticised the "lack of safety concerns" that led the boat to sail despite bad weather.

"How many deaths do we need to make the government and people set things right?" the newspaper said in an editorial.

Monday 07 September 2015

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Death toll hits 61 in Malaysia boat tragedy

Malaysian authorities have found the bodies of 11 more Indonesian migrants including a young girl, taking the toll from last week's boat tragedy to 61, a coastguard official said Monday.

The 11 bodies were fished out from the sea late Sunday, Mohamad Aliyas Hamdan, a Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency official, told AFP.

Thirty-seven of the victims were men, plus 23 women and a three-year-old girl.

Twenty Indonesians who have been rescued are in good health and are being detained by the coastguard, he added.

Officials have said the overcrowded wooden boat capsized and sank in rough seas about 16 kilometers off central Malaysia's Selangor state before dawn on Thursday.

Aliyas said the group were leaving Malaysia to return to Sumatra, across the Malacca Strait.

Survivors have reportedly said there were up to 80 people on the small vessel but local fishermen who helped in rescue efforts said there could have been up to 100.

Malaysia is Southeast Asia's third-largest economy and a magnet for migrant workers from its poorer neighbors, with the vast majority coming from Indonesia.

About two million Indonesians, many of them working illegally, are now in Malaysia doing a range of generally low-paid jobs.

Deadly accidents in the strait are not uncommon, with travellers typically attempting the crossing in rickety vessels and often at night to avoid detection.

In June 2014 more than a dozen people drowned when a boat overloaded with around 100 Indonesians sank while taking passengers home for the Islamic fasting month of Ramadhan.

Monday 07 September 2015

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