Taipei--The captain and chief officer of a research vessel that sank off Penghu more than two years ago were indicted Thursday on charges of professional negligence that caused the deaths of two people on board.
The RV Ocean Researcher 5 (??5?), carrying 45 people, hit two underwater reefs off Penghu on Oct. 10, 2014 and sank in bad weather.
Hsu Shih-chieh (???) , a research fellow with Academia Sinica, and Lin Yi-chun (???)of the Taiwan Ocean Research Institute died in the accident.
After two years of investigation, Penghu District Chief Prosecutor Liu Chun-liang (???)said, prosecutors found that Chief Officer Lin Chia-wei (???)failed to pinpoint the ship's location and direct the vessel away from shallow reefs.
Investigators also determined that Captain Huang Yu-fa (???) had not provided proper supervision of the chief officer in the execution of his official duties, Liu said.
On the fateful day, the vessel had departed from Tainan's Anping Harbor for Kinmen with 45 people on board but had to turn around due to inclement weather.
The boat began to veer off course along the eastern coast of Jibei islet near Penghu, according to an investigation report issued by the Maritime and Port Bureau in March 2015, based on the information retrieved from the ship's voyage data recorder (VDR) and on images obtained in undersea photographs,
Although the sea was rough, the onboard equipment should have alerted the crew that the vessel was off course and allowed them to make corrections, but the captain and the chief officer failed to address the problem, according to the bureau.
The bureau's findings were substantiated by members of the ship's crew, including the captain, chief and second and third officers, during questioning by prosecutors, and also by the data obtained from the VDR and other equipment.
The 2,700-ton Ocean Researcher 5, built in Taiwan at a cost of NT$1.46 billion (US$47.98 million), belonged to the National Applied Research Laboratories (NARL) under the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel