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Park vows to disband coastguard

South Korea's president will move to disband the coastguard in the wake of the ferry disaster that left more than 300 people dead or missing.

Park Geun-hye called its rescue operations after the April 16 disaster a failure.

The coastguard has been under growing public criticism over its alleged poor search and rescue work after the ferry Sewol sank.

Most of the victims were students from a single school near Seoul who were travelling to the southern tourist island of Jeju.

"The coast guard's rescue operations were virtually a failure," Ms Park said today in a nationally televised speech.

She said she will push for legislation that would transfer the coastguard's responsibilities to the National Police Agency and a new government body she plans to establish.

Ms Park also again apologised for the government's handling of the sinking, one of the deadliest disasters in decades in South Korea.

"The final responsibility for not properly dealing with this incident is placed on me," she said. The president has apologised over the incident at least three times.

More than a month after the sinking, 286 bodies have been retrieved but 18 others are still missing. Some 172 people, including 22 of the ship's 29 crew members, survived.

Prosecutors last week charged the ferry's 15 crew members tasked with navigating the ship, four on manslaughter charges.

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