Court orders gov’t and ferry operator to compensate survivors of Sewol-ho ferry disaster



세월호 생존자들, 국가상대 손배소 승소…”1명당 8천만원 배상”

It’s been five years since the Sewol-ho sank and took more than 300 lives.
Finally, the survivors of the worst maritime disaster in the nation’s history have won damages in a lawsuit against the state and the ferry operator.
Kim Mok-yeon updates us on the developments.
On Monday, the Ansan branch of the Suwon District Court held the state and the ferry operator, Cheonghaejin Marine, responsible for the tragedy in which the Sewol-ho ferry capsized in 2014, killing more than 300 passengers, including many high school students who were on a field trip.
The court ordered the ferry operator to pay compensation of some 71 thousand U.S. dollars to the 20 survivors of the tragedy.
Family members of student survivors will receive up to 14 thousand dollars and relatives of other survivors will be compensated up to 29 thousand dollars depending on their relationship with the survivors.
In Monday’s ruling, the court acknowledged that the authorities and officials of Cheonghaejin Marine overlooked the rescue operations and their actions caused severe mental suffering for the survivors.
The court said that the belated escape from the sinking and the absence of directions from the crewmen caused the survivors considerable difficulties with some of them even suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders.
The ruling also held the state responsible for the situation, for not providing accurate information about the search and rescue operations after the sinking, and for not giving the victims enough psychological and social support.
The regional court’s ruling on the survivors’ lawsuit comes some six months after the court awarded the victims of the tragedy nearly 180 thousand dollars and their relatives up to 35 thousand dollars each in a separate suit.
More than 200 family members lodged an appeal against that ruling, claiming that the state needs to take more responsibility for its negligence.
Kim Mok-yeon, Arirang News.

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