Wednesday, June 19, 2002

2 Ehime Maru crew
to get compensation

Kyodo News service

MATSUYAMA, Japan >> Two crew members who survived a fatal sea disaster last year involving a Japanese fishery training ship and later developed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder will be compensated for job-related suffering, the Fund for Local Government Employees' Accident Compensation said yesterday.

The two crew members of the Ehime Maru, which sank after being hit by the nuclear-powered submarine USS Greeneville in waters off Diamond Head in February 2001, were determined to be official disaster victims, compensation for which is equated with a labor-related disaster by the Ehime branch of the fund.

It is rare for people suffering from PTSD to have their symptoms recognized as stemming from a work-related disaster, according to the fund.

The two crew members, aged 51 and 52, were diagnosed with PTSD last year.

Local public servants who want to claim compensation from the fund must file a request that is recognized as being linked to a work-related disaster.

The two men filed their requests in October and February, respectively, after exhibiting symptoms such as flashbacks and insomnia, according to the branch office.

The fund concluded the PTSD of the two crew members stemmed from the collision and will compensate them for the costs of their medical treatment.

The 499-ton Ehime Maru sank Feb. 9, 2001, after it was struck from below by the 6,080-ton Greeneville as it was performing a rapid-surfacing drill for civilian guests aboard. Nine people aboard the Ehime Maru, including four high school students, were lost at sea while 26 others were rescued.

Many of the survivors, however, later developed symptoms of PTSD, with 12 crew members and students officially being diagnosed with PTSD last fall.

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