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Family of fisherman killed by Navy missile receives compensation

2016/11/17 12:20:38

CNA file photo

Taipei, Nov. 17 (CNA) The family of a fisherman killed by an anti-ship missile launched mistakenly will be compensated with NT$34.84 million (US$1.1 million), the Ministry of Justice has confirmed.

The ministry said Wednesday that the case sets a record for the highest amount of compensation it has paid out so far this year.

Huang Wen-chung (黃文忠), captain of the Hsiang Li Sheng fishing boat, was killed by the missile, while his son and two other crew members, one from Vietnam and the other from the Philippines, suffered minor injuries in the incident.

The family members of the victim then demanded national compensation, with the amount to cover funeral expenses, a consolation fee, damage to the ship and losses from lost working days.

Huang Ming-hua (黃明華), the eldest son of the deceased Huang, said that "it is good to have the matter over, and I hope the life of the family can return to normal quickly."

Huang Wen-fa (黃文發), the younger brother of the captain, asked: "How can we measure the worth of a life?" He said that his nephew will probably build a new ship and continue fishing.

The Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office has indicted three naval officers involved in the incident for negligence, citing their failure to follow standard operating procedures, despite their training in operating missile systems.

The locally developed Hsiung Feng III anti-ship missile was launched by mistake from a 500-ton Jin Jiang-class corvette docked at a naval base in Kaohsiung at 8:12 a.m. July 1 during what was supposed to be a simulated test of the missile system.

A petty officer who fired the missile was performing the test without supervision at the time, and mistakenly launched the missile. He accidentally selected the wrong mode for the missile drill simulation, setting it to combat mode instead of training mode, according to the Ministry of National Defense.

The missile traveled northwest and ripped through the fishing boat 40 nautical miles away in waters near Penghu County.

The compensation is made at the request of the Huang family and likely does not directly cover the foreign crew members injured in the incident. It is not known how much, if any, the two received in damages.

(By Chu Che-wei and Lilian Wu)