South Korean maritime accident rate doubled last year

The alarming and worrying statistics and high volume of reported accidents in 2015 are the result of poor maintenance of vessels and equipment, the South Korean government said.

The stark truth is that the number of maritime accidents has doubled during 2015 compared to the previous three years, Yonhap news agency reported, citing data from the South Korea Ministry of Public Safety and Security.

According to government reports, a total of 2,740 maritime accidents occurred in 2015, while the previous annual average was just over 1,300.

Poor maintenance alone accounted for over 850 accidents last year, while faulty equipment caused over 670 accidents.

In 2015, a total of 112 people died or were reported missing, resulting in a significant increase over the previous yearly average of 67-85 people in the three year period from 2011 until 2013.

However, compared to the period between 2012 and 2014, the fatality number is lower given the average of 212 in this period, mostly due to the Sewol ferry sinking off South Korea when over 300 people lost their lives.

As a response to the increase, the government plans to establish a vessel safety consultative body in order to keep the situation under control, Yonhap writes, adding that the South Korean coast guard also intends to launch a mobile maritime safety corps in the next three months to keep an eye on necessary safety measures.

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