|The Viking Sigyn ship is moored after the collision with the sightseeing boat Hableany in Budapest, Hungary, May 30. AP-Yonhap|
By Ko Dong-hwan
In the aftermath of the last week's sinking of a sightseeing boat on the Danube River at Budapest that killed Korean passengers with several missing, the Korean foreign affairs ministry has reportedly asked the Hungarian government to seize the large cruise vessel involved in the collision.
An official told Korean media outlets Monday that the ministry had ordered the South Korean Embassy in Hungary to "renegotiate" with the European nation's government for provisional seizure of the Viking Sigyn that hit the sightseeing boat Hableany from behind.
The measure means the Korean ministry wants to keep the ship until the two countries finish investigating the accident and start discussing compensating Korea for the victims ― seven killed, 19 missing as of Monday and seven rescued. Two Hungarian crew are also missing.
|South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, center, listens to military attache at the South Korean embassy in Budapest Col. Song Shun-keun during Kang's visit to the camp of a South Korean team participating in rescue operations to find victims of the boat tragedy. AP-Yonhap|
The Korean government says a Hungarian judge has issued an arrest warrant on a charge of negligence of duty for the Viking Sigyn's captain, identified as Yuriy. C., whose ship crashed into the rear of a smaller boat on the Danube River on the evening of May 29.
The Hungarian government also allowed the Viking Sigyn to continue its cruise, saying all evidence from the ship had been collected.
Korean Foreign Affairs Minister Kang Kyung-wha, who returned to Seoul from Budapest where she oversaw rescue operations, pledged Monday to strengthen cooperation not only with Hungary but also its neighboring nations, like Serbia and Romania, to help find the missing Koreans.
Viking Sigyn, registered in Switzerland and measuring 135 meters long, was headed toward the German city of Passau west of Budapest as of Monday, according to online locater Vessel Finder. The ship's operator, Viking Cruises AG, is based in Basel and its overseas office is in Budapest.