Sendoff ceremony held for Navy official killed in accident
Sailors carry the portrait and coffin of the late Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Choe Jong-keun at a funeral ceremony at the Marine Medical Center in Jinhae, South Gyeongsang Province, Monday. Choe, 22, died in an accident on the Navy's destroyer Choi Young last Friday, when a mooring rope connecting the 4,400-ton ship to the dock in a Navy base in the southern port of Jinhae snapped, killing him and injuring four others. The accident happened during a welcoming ceremony for the destroyer returning home from its 193-day overseas deployment off the Somalia coast. Courtesy of Republic of Korea NavyBy Jung Da-min A funeral ceremony for the late Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Choe Jong-keun, 22, who died in an accident on the Navy's destroyer Choi Young last Friday, was held at the Marine Medical Center in Jinhae, South Gyeongsang Province, Monday. The accident happened when a mooring rope connecting the 4,400-ton ship to the dock in a Navy base in the southern port of Jinhae snapped, killing Choe and injuring four others. About 300 people including the bereaved family members, Navy officers, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Sim Seung-seob and Choe's fellow crewmates from the destroyer participated in the ceremony. Choe was buried at the Daejeon National Cemetery, Monday afternoon. The cause of the accident is being analyzed, a Navy official said during a press briefing at the Ministry of National Defense, also on Monday. The official said Choe and other four officials injured from the accident were manning the mooring rope as the destroyer docked at the port; however, none of them were wearing a safety helmet or a kapok life jacket as they were in full-dress uniform for a welcoming ceremony for the ship that was returning home from its 193-day overseas deployment off the Somalia coast. Choe, who has been posthumously promoted by one rank to the Petty Officer 1st Class, was a member of the 28th deployment involving the destroyer Choi Young for the Republic of Korea Navy's anti-piracy Cheonghae unit, whose mission started in March 2009. He was on the Navy mission as a 2nd class petty officer and was set to be released from his mandatory military service as an able-bodied South Korean man about one month later. The Navy official told the press briefing that such an accident involving a mooring rope was rare, and the Navy was conducting a thorough investigation including checking the durability of the rope, to prevent any similar incidents.