Reports: The South Korean Ferry Sank Because It Was Dangerously Overloaded

TIME

The Sewol ferry was dangerously overweight when it sank, according to reports appearing in South Korean media, as the official death toll from the disaster rose to 226 with 76 still missing.

Investigators looking into what caused the 6,825-ton vessel to capsize on April 16 have revealed that operators reduced its ballast water — vital to maintain stability — to make room for three times more cargo as usual, citing testimony from a first mate on the ship.

The Korea JoongAng Daily quoted a prosecutor on the investigation team as saying: “[The crewman] said that he asked the division head to stop loading cargo because the ship might sink because of its weight. It appears that such a practice was not uncommon.”

Despite a maximum cargo limit of 987 tons, the ship was allegedly hauling 3,608 tons when it capsized off the country’s southwestern coast. Prosecutors have detained the captain…

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