Sat, Jun 04, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Minister urges US to expedite report into skipper’s death

Staff Writer, with CNA

Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) yesterday urged the US to publish its report into the death of a Taiwanese fishing boat skipper during an anti-piracy operation by the US Navy as soon as possible.

Wu Lai-yu (吳來于), captain of the long-liner Jih Chun Tsai No. 68, was hijacked along with his crewmembers by Somali pirates in March last year.

The skipper was killed on May 10 in an exchange of gunfire between a US warship and the pirates, who had used the Jih Chun Tsai No. 68 as their mother ship.

Wu’s death shocked his family, who had reportedly successfully negotiated terms for the release of Wu, his crew and the ship after more than a year of haggling with the pirates.

According to an official with the Liouciou Fishery Association, it was a long and difficult year for Wu’s wife, whose heart was repeatedly broken as she heard her husband crying and in pain over the telephone as he was beaten with fists or hit with the butt of a rifle.

One heart-rending moment was when she heard Wu yelling over the phone: “They’re trying to break my legs.”

The Wu family had previously asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to help rescue Wu and his crew, but the officials the ministry sent to help resolve the issue suggested the family assign a private delegate to negotiate with the pirates.

Wu’s death, along with those of the three captors, was made known to Taipei on May 21.

Yang said yesterday that his ministry had been keeping in close contact with the US authorities since it was informed of the incident that day.

“We definitely will ask for compensation on behalf of Wu’s family from any side that is held responsible,” Yang said.

On Thursday, Wu’s daughter said her family could not accept the outcome of the US’ intervention.

“The US has deprived us of our most important family member and the fishing vessel, the only thing that supported the family,” the daughter said.

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