South Korea ferry was routinely overloaded

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Associated Press

Posted on May 4, 2014 at 2:32 AM

Updated Sunday, May 4 at 2:37 AM

INCHEON, South Korea (AP) — The sinking of the South Korean ferry Sewol is revealing serious safety gaps in the government's monitoring of domestic passenger ships, including regular runs overloaded with cargo.

Documents show the Sewol exceeded its cargo limit on 246 trips — nearly every voyage it made in which it reported cargo — in the 13 months before it sank. And it may have been more overloaded than ever on its final journey that left some 300 people dead or missing.

The documents reveal regulatory failures that allowed passengers by the hundreds to set off on an unsafe vessel.

One private, industry-connected entity recorded the weights. Another set the weight limit. And they were not legally required to share data.

Collectively, South Korea's regulators held more than enough information, but the system made the data practically useless.

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