Mon, May 30, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Skipper’s wife wants compensation

ALMOST FREE:The family of ‘Jih Chun Tsai No. 68’ captain Wu Lai-yu had reportedly reached a ransom deal for his return late last month with his captors

Staff Writer, with CNA

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Fisheries Agency officials visit the family of Wu Lai-yu in Pingtung County in this archive photo from last year after Wu and his boat were captured by Somali pirates.

Photo: Yeh Yung-chien, Taipei Times

A Taiwanese woman demanded compensation yesterday from US troops whose actions, she believes, led to the death of her husband.

Her husband was the skipper of a Taiwanese long-line fishing vessel hijacked by Somali pirates on March 30 last year.

Wu Lai-yu (吳來于), captain of the Jih Chun Tsai No. 68, died on May 20 during an exchange of fire between the long liner, which was used by the pirates as a mother ship, and the USS Stephen W. Groves in the Indian Ocean.

The death surprised Wu’s family, who had reached a ransom deal late last month with the pirates following a painstaking negotiation that lasted more than a year.

The pirates agreed to release Wu and the 79 tonne vessel in one month upon receiving the ransom. The amount of the ransom is not clear, but it was less than the US$8 million the pirates originally demanded.

Wu’s wife said yesterday through Tsai Pao-hsing (蔡寶興), secretary-general of the Liouciou Fishery Association, that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should help her seek compensation from the US.

She said that the US troops saved two Chinese crewmembers, but allowed Wu’s body to sink along with the fishing vessel rather than retrieve it for the family.

A day earlier, the ministry said it had asked the Taipei office of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) to provide a complete investigation report on the incident.

The AIT has sent staff to convey condolences to the family, the ministry said.

More than 100 Taiwanese fishing vessels operate in the Indian Ocean, but they are not escorted by military ships, unlike their Chinese and South Korean counterparts, Tsai said.

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