Sun, Oct 28, 2012 - Page 3 News List

US Navy rejects claims by family of killed fisherman

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

The US Navy has decided not to compensate the family of late Taiwanese captain Wu Lai-yu (吳來于), who was killed by gunfire from a US warship during NATO anti-piracy operations on May 10 last year, a legislative report revealed.

According to the report, the case for compensation against the US navy was dismissed in February, and a decision on whether to file a lawsuit against the US Navy with a US federal district court had not yet been made.

Wu Hui-hwa (吳惠華), the youngest daughter of Wu Lai-yu, confirmed the news, saying by telephone yesterday that her family learned about the US Navy’s decision from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in February, less than six months after the complaint was filed.

The skipper of the long-line fishing vessel Jih Chun Tsai No. 68, hijacked by Somalian pirates off the eastern coast of Africa on March 30, 2010, and used as a pirate mothership, died when a US frigate, operating under a NATO-led counter-piracy mission, engaged the pirates.

In a report released on July 24 last year, the US said Wu Lai-yu was “killed inadvertently by ammunition” fired by the US Navy.

The US also offered an ex gratia payment to his family.

Wu’s family found that the report did not clearly detail how the fatality occurred and joined a protest staged by fishermen’s associations nationwide on July 26, demanding “truth, an apology and reasonable compensation.”

Later, Wu’s family filed a complaint with the US Navy and sought compensation, with Wu Hui-hwa saying that her family had supplied all the required information and documents needed to back up the claim.

“We were told that the request was dismissed in less than a week after we gave them all the information and documents they asked for,” she said, adding that she doubted whether the US actually reviewed the case thoroughly.

Possible plans to continue to seek justice and claim compensation from the US government were still under deliberation by the ministry, Wu Hui-hwa said.

Wu Hui-hwa said her family hoped they can get a positive response from the US government as soon as possible.

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