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Crewman`s Corpse Kept for 96 Days in Fishing Boat

Posted June. 05, 2010 02:42,   


A major deepsea fishing company is known to have kept the corpse of a crewman in a freezer in a krill-shrimp fishing boat for 96 days after his death.

Busan maritime police and fishing industry sources said Friday that the 42-year-old crewman suddenly died after complaining of chest pain Feb. 17 on a Dongwon Industries fishing vessel out in the South Pacific to catch krill shrimp.

The ship is known not to have gone to the nearest port, which was in New Zealand, but sailed towards Chile to continue fishing. While it continued work, the body was kept in a freezer used to store shrimp.

The corpse was moved onto a krill transportation ship April 8 and arrived in Busan May 25.

According to police, the death of a Korean national in another country’s territorial waters must be immediately reported to the Korean Embassy in that country and dealt with in accordance with the law. Because the crewman died in international waters, however, the ship reported only to Busan maritime police and failed to take further action.

“I don’t understand why the ship didn`t go to the nearest port when a crewman died,” an industry source said.

Dongwon said the man died of cardiac infarction and that his body was kept in a separate space from the freezer.

On why the corpse was kept there for more than three months, the company said it handled the case in a way to minimize economic losses after consulting with the deceased man’s family. It added that reporting to a foreign country’s police and following its orders are "complicated, time-consuming and expensive."

The body was sent to the Busan Forensic Medical Service May 28 for autopsy, and the result was reported to the National Institute of Scientific Investigation. A Busan maritime police official called it “unusual” to keep a dead body on a ship for months though the company and his family agreed to do so.

The official added that the instiute will announce the cause of death after June 15 after an investigation.