Sat, Aug 13, 2011 - Page 3 News List

US gives ‘ex gratia’ money to slain captain’s family

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

The US yesterday offered an ex gratia payment to the family of late Taiwanese captain Wu Lai-yu (吳來于), who died in an exchange of fire between a US warship and pirates off the coast of Somalia during a NATO anti-piracy operation on May 10.

An undisclosed sum of ex gratia payment, made without legal acknowledgment of fault or liability, was taken to his family in Greater Kaohsiung by American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director William Stanton, Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) told reporters.

Yang said he received a call yesterday morning from Stanton, who said he wanted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to arrange for him, on behalf of the US government, to meet with Wu’s family to hand over the ex gratia payment.

Accompanied by Gary Oba, chief of the AIT Kaohsiung Branch Office, and two ministry officials, Stanton again offered condolences over Wu’s death when he sat down with Wu’s daughters, Yang said.

Speaking by telephone separately, AIT spokesman Christopher Kavanagh declined to disclose the amount of the payment because it was a “private matter.”

“We expressed regret that Mr Wu died in the NATO operation to repress piracy. Mr Wu was a victim of Somali piracy. That’s why we offered the ex gratia payment to reflect our condolences to his family,” Kavanagh said.

Wu’s family accepted the payment, but said it was less than the US$3 million they had asked for and that they would seek further compensation.

The US said in a report released on July 24 that Wu was “killed inadvertently by ammunition” fired by the US Navy when it tried to end further piracy by the Taiwanese-flagged Jih Chun Tsai No. 68, which had been used by pirates as a mothership since it was seized on March 30 last year.

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