BUSAN, March 18 (Yonhap) -- Seven people have been indicted on ship-burying and other charges recently, about five years after the cargo ship Stellar Daisy sank in the South Atlantic Ocean and left 22 people unaccounted for, officials said Friday.
After the March 31, 2017, accident, 12 people were indicted in February 2019 but only on charges of violating the Ship Safety Act. Family members of the missing sailors have called for punishing those responsible additionally on ship-burying charges.
The seven people, indicted for ship-burying and manslaughter by negligence, included the 67-year-old CEO of Stellar Daisy's operator. Their indictment came ahead of the scheduled expiry of the five-year statute of limitations for the ship-burying charges.
Investigations found the ship was damaged due to persistent operation with cargo overload and a major change made to its bulkhead, but the operator did not inspect or repair the ship, officials said. The ship was carrying 260,000 tons of ore at the time of the accident.
Earlier this month, victims' families and civic organizations urged the prosecution to press charges against the operator before the statute of limitations of the case passes on the fifth anniversary of the ill-fated accident.
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