Korea Ferry: Transcript Of Last Communications

A transcript of communications between the stricken Sewol ferry and the coastguard has lifted the lid on the final minutes before the order was given to abandon ship.

The conversations show panic setting in on board the vessel, with officers asking for help to "please come quickly" as it began to tilt to the left, three hours from its destination of Jeju Island.

The transcript also appears to back up claims that the evacuation order may have come too late for some passengers as officers said the ship was tilting so much it was "impossible to move" to check on them.

The communication, which begins with the first distress call made by the ferry on Wednesday morning, has been translated by The Associated Press.

It reads:

8.55am

Sewol: Harbour affairs Jeju, do you have reception of The Sewol?

Jeju Vessel Traffic Services Centre (VTS): Yes, Sewol, this is harbour affairs Jeju.

Sewol: Please notify the coastguard. Our ship is in danger. It's listing right now.

 

8.56am

Jeju VTS: Where's your ship? Yes, got it. We will notify the coastguard.

Sewol: This ship has listed a lot. Can't move. Please come quickly. We're next to Byeongpung Island.

Jeju VTS: Yes, we got it.

 

8.58am

Jeju VTS: Sewol, this is harbour affairs Jeju. Do you have reception? Sewol, harbour affairs Jeju.

 

8.59am

Sewol: Harbour affairs Jeju, this is Sewol.

Jeju VTS: Sewol, this is harbour affairs Jeju. Channel 21, please.

 

9.00am

Jeju VTS: Sewol, this is harbour affairs Jeju.

Sewol: Jeju, Sewol here.

Jeju VTS: What's the current situation?

Sewol: Currently the body of the ship has listed to the left. The containers have listed as well.

Jeju VTS: OK. Any damage of the human life?

Sewol: It's impossible to check right now. The body of the ship has tilted, and it's impossible to move.

Jeju VTS: Yes, OK. Please wear life jackets and prepare as the people might have to abandon ship. 

Sewol: It's hard for people to move.

Jeju VTS: Yes, got it.

 

9.05am

Sewol: Harbour affairs Jeju, do you have reception of Sewol?

Jeju VTS: Yes, this is harbour affairs Jeju, Sewol.

Sewol: What's going on with the coastguard?

Jeju VTS: Yes, we have notified the coastguard. Currently we are calling Jindo VTS and Wando VTS. Please hold for a moment.

After this, Jeju VTS notified other ships and Wando VTS.