Lee Joon-seok, the captain of the Sewol ferry which sank of South Korea in April, has been jailed for gross negligence.
He was handed a sentence of 36 years in prison following the disaster, which claimed more than 300 lives.
The ferry had been carrying 476 people when it went down.
Lee Joon-seok was among 15 crew members on trial over the sinking, with prosecutors having charged him with homicide and called for the death penalty.
However, judges said he was not clearly the only person responsible for the tragedy.
The also agreed his negligence did not amount to an intent to kill.
In his late 60s, the captain is expected to spend the rest of his life in jail.
Thirteen other crew members were given jail sentences of up to 20 years.
They were tried on charges including abandonment and violating maritime law.
Crew members did not secure cargo which moved when the vessel took a tight corner, toppling the ferry, and Lee was filmed leaving the sinking ship while many passengers remained inside.
A total of 295 bodies have been retrieved by teams of divers but nine people remain unaccounted for.