Come on, Chuckles. These are Koreans, the same people who cut two inches off the chair legs at the Korean War "armistice" talks at the end of the first day, because the damn gwai-jun were all taller than they were, and that was an intolerable insult and loss of face. (All the allied chairs rocked on the second morning, no one could figure out why.)
A State Official says "Move the boat" and the only tolerable answer is "Sir Yes Sir!" whether it is physically impossible or not. If the captain made the mistake of laughing and saying "that's just not possible" then he did, in their terms, commit an egregious crime.