4 Nov 2012

Fishing boat disaster blamed on crew and captain

3:31 pm on 4 November 2012

The sinking of a Korean fishing trawler southeast of New Zealand with the loss of 21 lives has been blamed on the crew and captain.

The No. 1 Insung sank some 2700 kilometres southeast of Bluff in December 2010.

Of the 42 crew on board, five died and 16 others listed as missing were not seen again.

A Korean Maritime Safety report, released on Saturday, found the trawler overturned and sank because crew members failed to keep both the trawling door shutter and the door of the passageway closed in bad weather.

Large amounts of seawater flowed in through the two open doors, quickly flooding other sections of the vessel as it made its way through three-metre swells.

The report criticises the captain for failing to evacuate the ship in a timely manner.

The ship's owner was criticised for having safety instructions written in a language most of the crew could not understand.

People from six different countries were onboard but safety regulations were written only in Korean.

The report recommends all safety rules be translated into the languages of all crew members.

Seven of the crew including the captain were Korean. The remaining crew comprised 8 Chinese seamen, 11 from Indonesia, 11 Vietnamese and three Filipino sailors.