SEOUL, South Korea, April 16, 2014 – The U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard is responding to the scene after the passenger ship Sewol sank near the island of Jindo off South Korea’s southwestern coast.
The ship had more than 450 people aboard and was traveling from Incheon, South Korea, to Jeju island at the time of the incident.
Bonhomme Richard has established communications with the South Korean on-scene commander and is standing by to assist as required. The ship was on a routine patrol in waters west of the Korean Peninsula.
"When we were alerted to the accident, we immediately diverted to the scene to render assistance," said Navy Capt. Heidi C. Agle, commodore of U.S. Amphibious Squadron 11. "However, the efficiency of the Korean response eclipsed the immediate need for our assets. We are standing by to provide support as requested by the on-scene commander."
Bonhomme Richard is forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan, as part of the U.S. 7th Fleet. With its embarked Marine expeditionary unit, the ship is capable of both combat and humanitarian operations.