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Maritime accidents increased significantly in 2015

All Headlines 14:41 March 09, 2016

SEOUL, March 9 (Yonhap) -- A total of 2,740 maritime accidents involving ships occurred last year, resulting in 112 deaths and missing persons, government data showed Wednesday.

The number of accidents last year was double the annual average of 1,367 for the previous three years, according to the Ministry of Public Safety and Security.

The ministry also said the number of deaths is higher than the annual average that ranged from 67-85 in the 2011- 2013 period.

It said, however, last year's fatality numbers were far lower than the annual average of 212 reached in the 2012-2014 period.

In April 2014, more than 300 people died when the Sewol ferry carrying 476 people on board sank off the southwestern coast of the country. The disaster pushed up the national average.

According to the ministry, the rapid increase in the number of maritime accidents is largely blamed on poor maintenance of vessels and equipment.

Accidents from poor maintenance rose to 854 ships last year from 377 in 2014, while those due to using faulty equipment sharply increased to 676 ships from the previous year's 305.

Also accidents involving vessels that drifted due to empty fuel tanks shot up to 224 from 104 the previous year.

By type of vessel, fishing boats accounted for most of the accidents, at 1,566, followed by water leisure crafts at 324 incidents, and tugboats and barges at 145.

With the rise in the number of maritime accidents, the safety ministry plans to organize what it calls a vessel safety consultative body to make prompt and follow-up measures after maritime accidents.

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard will also start operating a mobile maritime safety corps by the end of May to crack down on vessels operating without properly working transceivers, navigating under the influence of alcohol and fishing in off-limit areas.

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