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Court awards Sewol survivors compensation

All Headlines 15:28 January 14, 2019

ANSAN, South Korea, Jan. 14 (Yonhap) -- A regional court on Monday awarded compensation to survivors of a 2014 deadly ferry sinking for their mental and physical suffering, acknowledging negligence by both the state and the company that owned the ferry.

The Ansan branch of the Suwon District Court made the ruling in favor of 76 survivors and their families from the sinking of the Sewol ferry on April 16, 2014.

The Sewol ferry sank off the country's southwestern coast, claiming 304 lives, mostly high school students on a school trip, in one of the worst maritime disasters in the country's history.

The court ordered the state and Cheonghaejin Marine Co., the shipping company that had owned the Sewol, to pay 80 million won (US$71,250) to each of the 20 survivors that lodged the suit.

It also ordered them to compensate the families of Danwon High School survivors between 4 million won and 16 million won and up to 32 million won to the families of ordinary survivors.

In Monday's ruling, the court acknowledged that the authorities and officials of Cheonghaejin Marine overlooked the rescue operations and their actions have caused severe mental suffering for the survivors.

"The survivors experienced considerable difficulties over the course of the belated escape from the sinking, without being given any directions from the crewmen," the court said. "They are suffering even till now from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety."

"The state caused chaos by failing to provide accurate information about the rescue and search operations in the aftermath, nor did it provide the victims with ample psychological support."

In a separate suit in July last year, the same court awarded between 40 million won and 200 million won to the late victims and their families of the Sewol tragedy.

elly@yna.co.kr
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