Lee Joon-seok held a gray hoodie over his face and uttered a brief, quiet apology while staring at the floor.
"I am really sorry and deeply ashamed. I don't know what to say."
Six people have been confirmed dead and 290 people are still unaccounted for after the ferry capsized. 179 people have been rescued so far after they climbed to the top of the sinking boat or jumped in the water and awaited rescue.
Bad weather is hampering search and rescue efforts with low visibility and strong currents.