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7 Fishermen Who Helped Cheonan Rescue Laid to Rest

Posted May. 07, 2010 07:21,   


The funeral for the seven missing fishermen of the fishing vessel Geumyang 98 was held Thursday in Incheon.

The seven are presumed dead since their boat sank April 2 after a collision with a Cambodian cargo ship in waters off Daecheong Island in the Yellow Sea. The Geumyang 98 had been searching for the missing crewmen of the sunken naval patrol boat Cheonan.

The funeral came 34 days after the accident because the bereaved families of the seven fishermen agreed to hold the funeral despite their bodies not yet being found.

A memorial altar with the portraits and mortuary tablets of the seven was installed at the funeral site. The ceremony was hosted by the chief of the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives.

Prime Minister Chung Un-chan postponed a lecture on educational reform at Wonmuk High School in Seoul to attend the funeral together with Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Chang Tae-pyong and others. Chung remained until the procession left the funeral site even after other participants departed, bidding farewell to the deceased.

The portraits and keepsakes of the six Korean fishermen (the seventh fisherman was Indonesian) were taken by a hearse to the city cremation center at Incheon Family Park. Since their bodies remain missing, their clothing and other belongings collected at their residences and shelters were put into their coffins and cremated. Their remains were buried at the charnel house at the park, together with the remains of Kim Jong-pyeong, Korean crew member of the boat found dead April 3 and whose funeral was conducted April 22.

The portrait and keepsake of the Indonesian crewman were handed over to the Indonesian Embassy in Seoul in accordance with Indonesian tradition that shuns cremation. The body of another Indonesian crewman, which was found with Kim, was also transported to Indonesia April 11.

The bereaved families and relatives of the victims will hold a collective memorial service at an Incheon pier at 2 p.m. Friday and offer flowers in waters off Palmi Island aboard a Korea Coast Guard patrol boat.

The Jung ward office of Incheon also submitted on April 29 an application to the Health and Welfare Ministry to designate Kim and the Indonesian whose body was discovered as people who died to “uphold public justice.” If they are designated as such, their bereaved families will receive 197 million won (172,000 U.S. dollars) in compensation from the government in addition to insurance payouts.

Under Korean law, however, people who go missing can be construed as having died one year after the incident before being considered for designation as people who died for others.

The government posthumously presented the nine crewmen of the Geumyang 98 Tuesday with orders of merit, which are given to those who risk their lives to save others.