On Wednesday, the government of South Korea came out with its first settlement offer according to which it would pay compensations in the amount of 420 million won (257,174 pounds) to the families of every one of the 250 students who died or are still missing as a result of the Sewol ferry disaster that occurred in 2014.
The families of the 11 teachers that unfortunately lost their lives in the disaster will be receiving roughly 760 million won each. The
Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries commented that the higher amount is to account for lost potential income. As to all of the other passengers, the Ministry added that they are going to be compensated with 150 million and 600 million won respectively, according to their individual age and income.
The Sewol ferry had 476 passengers aboard at the time of the tragic accident, which occurred on April 16th of last year. Over 60% of them were students going on a school trip. Most of them lost their lives while trapped in the vessel following crew orders to remain in their cabins as the Sewol ferry capsized and sank.
The ferry sank while attempting to make a turn on a routine trip to the Jeju holiday island. Thorough inspections later discovered that the vessel was in breach of regulations with several unsupervised and non-approved modifications made to increase its passenger capacity thus making it, however, too heavy and unstable.
The vessel’s chief engineer has been successfully convicted on all homicide-related charges and has received a sentence of 30 years in jail. He has decided to appeal the sentence. The other fourteen surviving crewmen that have been given sentences from 5 to 36 years are also filing appeals.
The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries has declared that a specially formed compensation committee has set an average compensation sum in the amount of 425,810 won for each victim’s family.
A group that has been tasked with representing the victims’ families has protested the above-mentioned announcement as it has pointed out that it is simply an attempt aimed at diverting attention away from demands for the conducting of a more in-depth and independent investigation of the tragedy.
The Ministry also added that the current compensation sum could potentially rise when insurance payments and a specially established fund via public contributions are added. Its expectations are that in such a scenario the payments may then amount to roughly 300 million won per person.