THE captain of a Korean fishing vessel which went down southeast of New Zealand two years ago was crying while hugging a post as he refused a life jacket when the ship was going down.
The evidence of Hyonki Shin’s final moments was heard on the opening day of an inquest into deaths that resulted from the sinking of the Oyang 70 about 800km southeast of Dunedin in 2010.
The inquest is into deaths of three crewmen whose bodies were recovered. Five crewmen and the captain died. Another 45 people were rescued by the New Zealand-owned Amaltal Atlantis fishing boat.
Coroner Richard McElrea, who was presiding over the inquest in Wellington on Monday, heard parts of a Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) report into the sinking.
The report said the crew were trying to take on about 120 tonnes of fish from a large net, the biggest haul of fish they had ever seen.
Detective Sergeant Michael Ford, reading from the report, said the ship’s navigator went onto the bridge to give Mr Shin a life jacket but he would not take it, Fairfax Media reported.
“The captain was hugging a post and crying, after drinking clear liquid from a bottle.”
The report said water could flood in as the ship’s scuppers had no functioning non-return valves and that watertight doors were left open.
The inquest is expected to last a week.