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South Korea’s coastguard said it rescued all passengers and crew from a stranded sightseeing ship off the country’s southwest coast today.
All 104 passengers and five crew were rescued from the 171- ton ‘Vacance’ sightseeing vessel, which became stranded off the island of Hongdo, about 340 kilometers (210 miles) southwest of Seoul, at 9:10 a.m. today, a coastguard official said by phone in Mokpo, asking not to be named citing official policy. The rescue was completed by about 9:30 a.m. and the coast guard is still checking passengers for injuries, he said.
Maritime safety has become a key political issue in South Korea following the April sinking of the Sewol ferry, also off the country’s southwest coast, which left more than 300 people dead. President Park Geun Hye pledged an overhaul of the shipping industry to improve safety standards and said the existing coast guard should be disbanded.
Hongdo, meaning ‘red’ in Korean, is a popular sightseeing destination famous for the sunsets that give the island its name, according to the Korea Tourism Organization.
To contact the reporter on this story: Shinhye Kang in Seoul at firstname.lastname@example.org.To contact the editors responsible for this story: Stuart Biggs at email@example.com.