The chairman and CEO of the Korean Register of Shipping has resigned over the Sewol ferry disaster, joining a list of officials who have quit over the tragedy. Chon Young Kee, who had only been elected to head the classification society in April 2013, tendered his resignation on 25 April, a day after prosecutors investigating the Sewol disaster visited KR’s Busan office to obtain documents relating to the ferry. (source: IHS Maritime 360)
KR had classed the Sewol, which capsized on 16 April and killing an estimated 302 of the 476 passengers and crew. A KR spokesperson 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.
” The spokesman told IHS Maritime that one of KR’s executive VPs will serve as an interim chairman until new elections are held. He added that Chon’s resignation took effect immediately. He added: “There’re no plans for an election until investigations are completed. Dr Chon, a 30-year veteran in the classification business, remains willing and available to assist with the efforts to resolve the incident. The paperwork to process Dr Chon’s resignation will take about a week.
“Dr Chon’s decision does not suggest any wrongdoing, negligence or any other deficiency by KR associated with this very tragic accident. The actual cause behind the accident will not be known until the on-going investigation is complete, but we are confident that we have performed our duties diligently and in strict accordance with the relevant national and international regulations as well as our rules. We will do whatever is necessary to assist the authorities with the accident investigation and to provide services to our customers without interruption.”
Chon’s appointment last year marked the first time in KR’s 53-year history that its chairman was appointed internally. Prior to his appointment, Chon served executive VP of KR’s technical division. The Sewol disaster saw the country’s Prime Minister Chung Hong Won tendering his resignation on 27 April, citing a failure to prevent the accident and poor handling of the rescue operations.