South Korea is launching a massive new government agency this week to handle emergency rescue and safety management seven months after a ferry disaster killed 304 people.
The accident, which drew global media coverage, was blamed on a failed response by the coast guard by President Park Geun-hye.
After approval by parliament, South Korea’s coast guard is being broken up and its search and rescue duties are being moved to the new National Safety Agency that will have more than 10,000 staff and incorporate fire and emergency response teams, the government said on Tuesday.
The passenger ferry Sewol capsized and sank on April 16 after making a turn on a routine voyage. Investigators blamed the capsize on excess cargo and improper stowage. Many of the victims were teenage student on a school trip.
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The ferry captain, who was photographed as one of the first people abandoning the sinking ship, was sentenced earlier this month to 36 years in prison.