President Park Geun-hye Thursday fired the head of the Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries, Yoon Jin-sook, over her much-criticized response to a recent oil spill.
On January 31, according to the Global Post, “a speeding Singapore-registered tanker collided into pipelines operated by GS Caltex, the country’s second-largest refiner, causing an oil spill into waters off the coast of Yeosu, 455 kilometers south of Seoul.”
Yoon visited the site a day after the incident. Photos of her covering her nose with her hand and frowning and also laughing went viral over the weekend.
The 59-year-old minister said later she had the flu and that she “cared about other people too much.”
But on Wednesday, Yoon sparked outrage when she said the primary victim from the oil spill was GS Caltex and not local fishermen.
“Prime Minister Chung met with Yoon . . . at his office to tell her about the dismissal motion,” presidential spokesman Min Kyung-wook said in a briefing. “Chung immediately called President Park to suggest her dismissal, and Park accepted it.”
The Yeosu Coast Guard said GS Caltex closed the valves one hour after the accident instead of right away, adding to the size of the spill.
The company said the delay was from having to close the valves manually because of a power outage from the tanker collision, the Global Post said.
“In response to the growing criticism, GS Caltex said it will join efforts to contain the spill and minimize losses by local fishermen,” according to the report.