Retribution from on High – The President Will Disband the Coast Guard

The president has announced that she will disband the Coast Guard over their failure to carry out their mandate.

Reportedly, the current Coast Guard is shaped more for patrol duties with little experience in maritime emergencies (cite).

This will be replaced by a new organization that can better respond to disasters. I wonder who will be left with the task of hunting down the Chinese pirate fleet and if they will be sinking ships instead? (The pirate fleet photo set)

  • spiceisnice

    Perhaps I’ve missed it, but has Ms. Park said anything about eliminating conflicts of interests from the regulating bodies and enforcing the regulations that already exist that would have prevented the Sewol tragedy in the first place?

  • Aja Aja

    Hard to do that, when the entire public and media is almost entirely focusing in on the coast guards and the divers as the killers of those people, with movements to oust her from power. The rest of the problems which are the real problems, will be completely ignored, and the problems will remain as is. She has bowed to public pressures. But it won’t be enough until she’s out of power.

  • redwhitedude

    That’s going a bit too far disbanding the coast guard. It needs reforming and perhaps more funding to fix deficiencies but disbanding? That’s ridiculous.

  • TopHatandTails

    No mention of the rampant corruption that was the root cause of this disaster.

  • A Korean

    It’s hard to run a country, and nobody forced her to run for the presidency.

  • Aja Aja

    Not true. I don’t like the way the coast guard has been unfairly maligned, but Park seems very angry and determined to root out the corruption. She has mentioned that her party will go after a bill which will make any corporations that have jeopardized public safety, to have their assets seized from them as well as from owner’s family members, then make them close up shop. Then they will use the funds to compensate the victims. She also talked about the “kkiri kkiri culture”, which she says she’s determined to root out with new laws.

    Predictably, papers like Hani, Ohmynews, and Kyunghyang are only focusing on her tears and her alleged lack of sincerity. They have largely given little press on her proposals. So you know where some people’s priorities lie. They want Park to apologize sincerely.

  • Aja Aja

    Yeah, that’s going to do wonders for those 18 family members who are still waiting for their loved one’s bodies to be recovered by coast guard divers. Do you think those coast guards divers will get a sudden burst of energy from this? What is the point for them to risk their lives and dive?

  • Sumo294

    Yeah I agree with that statement–she asked for the job.

  • A Korean

    Take a deep breath. You seem to lack oxygen to follow the arguments here.

  • Ben E

    So the coast guard isn’t effective at rescue missions, that is fair. But what is the rationale behind dismantling the whole thing and starting from scratch? In the end the new institution will end up looking like and performing similar tasks to what a coast guard should be doing anyway. It just seems like a giant smoke screen to try and appear as if she is doing something without actually doing anything substantial. Also seems this reform completely fails to address the reason for why this ship ended up upside down in the first place.

    Also, the arguments over whether her tears were genuine or not seem misplaced to me. Instead we should be asking why she made this announcement during Monday morning rush hour instead of going on TV in prime time and make this apology while look the entire country in the eyes. Cowardly in my opinion.

  • brier

    So instead of a coast guard we will get a maritime police force?

    In my opinion, I wish she would have talked about creating a culture of safety starting with kids in the school system. Adults can’t be changed so easily, but getting the kids to practice safety, understand the value of safety and have an awareness for safety would be where she needs to take this.

    But changing the culture of the education system here which places the bureaucracy first and kids second would have to change also.

  • Brendon Carr

    Instead of a Coast Guard we have a maritime police force. The Korean language version of the organization is “maritime police”. What this reorganization promises is a proper coast guard, which, in my opinion, is overdue.

  • Seoulgoodman

    Root out corruption? How do you think her family ended up managing that huge “educational fund”?

  • piratariaazul

    Pardon my ignorance, but is the existing maritime police force a centrally managed nat’l agency? — or is it regional/provincial?

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    “The duties of the Coast Guard will be absorbed into the national police force or into a new safety agency…”

    Yes, because the national police are exemplars of bravery and leadership. There’s a reason Gangnam had to hire private thugs to evict those 포장마차 as cops stood by and watched like nervous poodles. Korean police officers want a stable job with good benefits. What they don’t want is to actually have to deal with crime (or old people).

    I do like the way the president clearly stated that corruption and collusion were at the root of this disaster. However I don’t like the way she accepted “ultimate responsibility” for the tragedy. The ultimate responsibility lies with all citizens who passively ignore obvious societal ills because it’s just easier to look the other way.

  • RElgin

    This is a good point.
    Her advisers, at least, seem to be unaware of how to use the media to its fullest. If you are going to take action, at least look strong in the media and use drama. There is a stage; use it well.

    She should have someone on hand that understands how to use media better instead of hiding away in a bunker of sorts.

  • RElgin

    “This is not the corruption we were looking for . . . “

  • RElgin

    . . . I do like the way the president clearly stated that corruption and
    collusion were at the root of this disaster . . . The ultimate responsibility lies with all citizens who passively ignore obvious societal ills because it’s just easier to look the other way.

    She should pull these citizens to her and use this for political momentum for change . . . a revolution tucked inside a status quo, however her own senior party members are not trustworthy to help her do such a thing, IMHO.

  • Seoulgoodman
  • j95lee

    “The ultimate responsibility lies with all citizens who passively ignore obvious societal ills because it’s just easier to look the other way.”

    The universal response to this tragedy in Korea seems to be “the government has abandoned us”. Some kids are drawing media attention and sympathy by blaming the tragedy on the older generation. A bit too much self pitying but not enough introspection.

    This tragedy was really borne out of their penchant for cutting corners and deferring / fleeing responsibility. The government can be faulted for a number of things, but most of these passengers would be alive (even with faulty life jackets or boats) if the captain and just some of the crew stayed and did their jobs.

    They want to blame the establishment (so to speak) and say things like “this kind of incident proves we’re still a third world country” but they can’t quite seem to point the finger at themselves. You get the government and culture you opt for. I could say the same thing for some Korean Americans here.

  • bigmamat

    I see Ms. Park rather likes to do the knee jerk, appears to be her favorite dance. Something I’d like to know. Does the current Coast Guard have the equipment and the manpower to actually be responsive to these types of disasters? I’m thinking that a disbanding, and then restructuring will do no good without the proper equipment, training and expertise to shape the Coast Guard into an organization that will be effective. I’m afraid that in the end Korea will very likely have to throw some money at this problem. I don’t think the president is being very honest when she suggests that a change in bureaucratic oversight will solve anything.

    Had I been president I would have told my people to find me an expert. Find me someone who is fluent in disaster planning and emergency relief, even if I had to look outside of Korea. I know this sounds a lot like the American duck and cover tactic of “forming a task force”, but these things can work when there is a specific goal in mind. I just don’t see how shifting the oversight to another agency, one that has zero experience with maritime issues will solve the problem.

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    I also find it weak (and silly) that she picks on the coast guard. Was it their fault that this ship sank?

  • Aja Aja

    There was nothing wrong with the coast guard and their rescue response. It’s just that they have become the scape goats used by the leftist oppositions, who used them to get to Ms. Park. This is tearing apart the people who served the country thought at least the president will back them up, instead they were thrown to the wolves and betrayed. Tell me what people in that organization will want to do the job going forward knowing that they’ll be blamed unfairly. But it seems that most Koreans view this move very favourably because they squarely blame the coast guards for the deaths.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    You say:

    There was nothing wrong with the coast guard and their rescue response.

    Park says:

    이번 세월호 사고에서 해경은 본연의 임무를 다하지 못했다

    So if you are right then she was basically lying to pacify the people.

    That’s bad in my opinion. Exactly the sort of response we do not want from the president in these situations.

    Let’s hope then you are wrong.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    This response is just beyond silly.
    She does like to rule from the throne.
    Off with their heads!
    The whole lot of them!

  • Aja Aja

    And I said, “instead they were thrown to the wolves and betrayed”. Isn’t it obvious she’s trying to save herself?

  • Aja Aja

    She’s not the only one looking silly. The irrationality and lack of logic of the entire Korean public which shape their own leadership is beyond exasperating. They care more about her tears, than the actual policies that should be the focus.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    Isn’t it obvious she’s trying to save herself?

    Dear me.
    Well done.

  • Aja Aja

    Yes, Korea deserves the bad leadership they get.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    I agree with that sentence : get->have.
    According to the amazing popularity ratings that seem to pop out of somebody’s arse every week, she’s still got the support of nearly half the country.


    Apparently an explosion happened at Gunpo Station (line 1) with 11 people injured..

  • Aja Aja

    And add: “will always get”.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    Do you want to be the last one to tag that badly?

  • bigmamat

    I guess since this wasn’t meant for me it doesn’t matter that I can’t read it.

  • Aja Aja

    They’re saying her tears are fake, and also citing Ohmynews interview with one of the parents of the dead who is mad at her for her fake tears. They want a real apology (she has apologized in person 4 times now).

    Is anybody talking about the corrupt ship owner? The company that overloaded the ship and failed to tie down the freight? The safety regulators who were in bed with the ferry company? The lack of safety culture that lead to the disaster? None of that is relevant because the public and media is solely squarely eyeing the coastguards who supposedly murdered these people, as the cause of all ills – which all ultimately comes back to the president and her tears, was it real or not, and her apologies.


  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    It’s OK, if you cannot read it, nobody is reading it. It’s just a typical gross exaggeration.

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  • Aja Aja

    I don’t know what you mean. But if she had any honor, she would have stuck to her principals, handed her resignation and let the lunatics have the asylum and the leadership. And after the country sinks like the Sewol, the Korean people would have been wiser.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    Would have been so much better if she actually stuck around to answer some questions from *the press* than some tears.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    The most discussed/read news is the fate of 안행부
    who’s basically 붕 떠버리게 되어버린.

    They are talking about ‘공중분해’ indeed, ‘mid-air disintegration’.
    This sort of ham-fisted approach is very reminiscent.

  • Aja Aja

    So are you telling us the lefty papers are the only ones making a big deal over her tears and apologies, and no-one is paying attention to them?

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    If she had any honour..

    Not a question of honour, I do think she is under a very mistaken impression that she is a woman of honour and principles, in the way she deals with everything from Japan to this..that is her problem. A problem of self-grandeur.

    She is not going anywhere. She does not have to resign.

    Instead, if she had half a brain cell, she would have shown exactly what needs to be done in a situation like this:

    1.concentrate on getting the rest of the missing out.

    2. deal with the 유가족 on a one-to-one level to listen to what they need, what they want.

    3. With the Ansatz “too little too late”, really wait until the prosecutors or the investigation team go through the procedures that were carried out by all concerned *including* the marine police, and make that public warts and all, and then make a judgment call on the best way to improve that it does not fail again in the future.

    4. Not make such blatant public condemning remarks towards the crew and the captain, the Korean citizens who are still entitled to have a fair trial.

    5. Explain why there are accusations against her and the Blue House that are coming from the KBS that the government called them up to downplay/highlight issues to suit their needs

    6. Get rid of all the crappy foot-in-mouth people in her government who are pouring oil on the fire of the public opinion, and condemn them and apologize/take responsibiltiy for having them in her advisory panel/government.

    I could go on.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    eh? Lefty or Righty I only link from Daum/Naver Main portal.

  • bigmamat

    I don’t know what to say. I can’t imagine that Americans would blame the rescue team that’s for sure. We kind of worship people in those positions these days. I can see people being upset with the government. Certainly for lack of oversight. It does make the Korean public appear to be rather irrational.

  • bigmamat

    I think someone predicted yesterday that she wouldn’t answer any questions. Even before this happened your President Park did seem to be very much of a communicator….

  • Aja Aja

    I’m talking about the main article on Park’s tears that appeared on main pages in Hankyoreh, Hangook, Kyunghyang, and Ohymnews, earlier today. What about the NYTimes ad and Washington Post ad? The mass protests the last several days? This was all an illusion that forced Park to apologize and give in to sacrifice the coast guards?

  • yuna_at_marmotshole


    Tears were not what they were after (despite what 바둑 says). Neither is “It’s all my fault, happy?”

    You’re just pushing it as usual.

  • bigmamat

    I really can’t believe she came up with such a nonsense plan as to shift the agency from one to another. It just doesn’t sound like much of plan to me. I think your president is a big dud.

  • Sumo294

    Wow–well said, sir.

  • Sumo294

    Aja–you are following the story too closely take a breath–the narrative has already begun to change to a tale of prosecution–the lefties have mismanaged their opportunity to deliver a killing blow to the president. Talk to ordinary people–they are watching singing shows again, movies and soap operas. I rarely see anyone switching channels to look at Sewol related news–they watch if the news is on and kinda of shrug their shoulders as life goes on.

  • Sumo294

    11,000 lefties–this was the best the commies could do–yeah its over. This was the big one and I thought it was possible they could rally 100K plus but wow–11K is weak sauce. You should have helped them out guys–it could have been 11K plus one.

  • Aja Aja

    FEMA, Katrina 2006 comes to mind, who were blamed for not saving the people who didn’t listen to evacuation orders and stayed in the city. But that was over days of relief effort. The Korean coastguards had no more than 30 minutes from the time they arrived, to rescue 300 people who by then, a large number of them, were unable to move and trapped. The coastguards didn’t even realize until the ship went under that there were that many people onboard because you’re natural logic tells you that the captain of the ship would have ordered the passengers to the deck or to abandon the ship. Yet they got lambasted in the media and got thrown under the bus.

  • Aja Aja

    I think they’re pretty happy at this moment. They got the next election in their hands now. And they will continue to harp on this until the next millenium.

  • Aja Aja

    Right. And that’s going to prevent the revolution that was brewing on the streets. Why not just admit it? There was nothing she could have done to avoid this. Nothing.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    Avoid what?

    She did what she did. Nobody forced her to do that.
    They(유가족) wanted a government independent inquiry to look into various stuff including the rescue operations, 2 days ago.
    They did not ask “please dismantle the 해경 who are still out looking for some of our children”.

  • bigmamat

    OK…so did you think I needed convincing? I don’t think the ship should have capsized in the first place. The cargo hold had 3 times the recommended weight. If something of that nature doesn’t come under the umbrella of government oversight I don’t know what would. I don’t think my comment was worded to give you the impression that I would blame the response team.

  • bigmamat

    She’s a crap leader but didn’t someone already sacrifice himself for this disaster….didn’t the prime minister resign? I guess some people think the entire elected government should resign? How would that solve anything?

  • bigmamat

    You must be Korean.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    Bigmamat, I *still* don’t think she should resign, never did.

    She should not have been elected, and even that I don’t really blame her or her voters but somebody else.

    I didn’t think the prime minister had to resign either.

    There are some people who made some remarks (especially in her PR team) and some in her government who she should not have had in her team, and should replace. The priority of her government should not have been to protect *themselves* (or at least be seen doing that) in a political battle.

  • bigmamat

    I agree she’s a terrible communicator even if they do claim she’s a micro manager. I’ve said all along that this disaster should have pointed very directly to a problem the Korean government and the public should eventually address. The Korean public needs to calm down and stop acting like a bunch of uneducated yokels. The big question is what role should government play in public safety. Then when that has been determined how much of a role should central government play and how much is the public willing to invest monetarily to see that the job is done. The public hasn’t even begun to actually think about this problem in any kind of constructive way. Obviously neither has it’s government leadership. Park is a straight up dud of a president with zero leadership abilities. I hope those that put her in office can see that now themselves or at least some of them do.

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    I should add that I’m sure PGH accepted responsibility for this because that’s what people expect her to say. But blame should be placed accurately so that problems can be corrected.

  • Sumo294

    Could of been a lot worse. They will get a bump but that’s expected. On the other hand–anti–corruption is now vogue and its high time for that to happen. A lot of mid sized companies are right now quietly cleaning up their operations fearing such a spotlight on them and its helping make the ROK a lot more safe.

  • Sumo294

    Hey Baduk–the princess did it. I saw the video–it was good enough. Dissolving the coast guard was a stroke of genius–some good advice–finally.