• Kyodo

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A South Korean company will pay 380 million yen in damages to the owner of a fishing boat damaged in a collision with a freighter off Fukuoka Prefecture in July that left one person dead and six missing, the owner of the fishing vessel said Saturday.

The South Korean company that owns the Panamanian-registered freighter, Heung-A Jupiter, will compensate Kyowa Suisan fisheries company for damage to the 135-ton Koyo Maru No. 18 and for the families of the seven victims, the fisheries company said.

The fisheries company said earlier that it was seeking more than 1 billion yen in compensation.

However, the company ended the negotiations with far less in compensation due to a law that limits a ship owner’s liability, limiting liability in accordance with the tonnage of the ship, it said.

The company also said it took into consideration an anticipated jump in the yen’s value against other currencies that may result in decreasing the yen-denominated value of the compensation.

Yun Guk Tae, 22, the South Korean navigator of the freighter, was indicted on charges of professional negligence resulting in death and injury and testified that he failed to take proper steps to avoid the collision, admitting to the prosecutors’ accusations.

The fishing vessel sank about 25 km northeast of Okinoshima, after it was hit by the 3,372-ton freighter on July 3. Fifteen of the Koyo Maru’s 21 crew were rescued but one later died at a hospital. The other six have not been recovered.

The fishing boat had been scheduled to return to the port of Shimonoseki on the day of the collision after a five-day expedition. The freighter was traveling to Hiroshima from Pusan, South Korea, with a crew of 13 South Koreans and three Chinese. None of them was injured.

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