After a ferry sank off South Korea last week, leaving over 266 missing and 36 confirmed dead, an arrest warrant was put out for the ferry's captain, Lee Joon-seok. He and a helmsman, as well as a rookie third mate, were taken into custody this afternoon.
Maritime experts called the abandonment shocking — violating a proud international (and South Korean) tradition of stewardship based at least as much on accepted codes of behavior as by law.
But Joon-seok was one of the first people off the boat, watching as others were trapped below deck by rushing waters. He has been arrested on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need.
According to the court, Lee faces five charges, including negligence of duty and violation of maritime law, and the two other crew members each face three related charges.
Lee was required by law to be on the bridge helping his crew when the ferry passed through tough-to-navigate areas.
The incident has earned Joon-seok the nickname of "evil of the Sewol," the name of the ferry he was manning, and resembles the travesty in 2012 when Italian cruise ship the Costa Concordia was also abandoned by its captain. Francesco Schettino, the ship's captain, is still on trial for mass manslaughter and abandonment.