27 Apr 2014

Korean ferry crew all under arrest

4:46 am on 27 April 2014

All surviving crew members of the South Korean ferry disaster are now in custody.

A monk in Jindo offers prayers for the dead on the Sewol.

A monk in Jindo offers prayers for the dead on the Sewol. Photo: AFP

The captain and 10 crew members were already under arrest on charges ranging from criminal negligence to abandoning passengers.

Officials now say the remaining four are also under arrest after warrants were issued.

The Sewol capsized on 16 April on a routine voyage to Jindo island with 476 people on board. The confirmed death toll stands at 187.

Bad weather is preventing the recovery of the 115 still missing - their bodies are believed to be trapped in the sunken ferry.

Despite difficult conditions on Saturday, divers made several attempts to get into the ship, but to no avail.

One dormitory room was packed with the bodies of 48 students wearing lifejackets.

The search operation extends up to 60km from the scene of the disaster.

Prosecutors have raided businesses affiliated with the Chonghaejin Marine Company, the ferry operator, as part of an inquiry into corrupt management.

There are travel bans on eight current and former executives of the Korea Register of Shipping - the agency responsible for issuing marine safety certificates.