U.S. Court Orders North Korea to Pay Large Damages to Crew of U.S. Intelligence Ship It Seized

The USS Pueblo intelligence vessel on display in Pyongyang, North Korea (Jan. 24, 2018)

A U.S. federal judge has ruled that the North Korean government must pay the former crew of the USS Pueblo, a U.S. intelligence vessel it detained in 1968, more than $2.3 billion for the “pain and suffering” they endured during their 11-month imprisonment. 2.3 billion dollars in compensation.

“More than 100 members of the Pueblo’s crew and their families filed a legal action against North Korea in February 2018. The court handed down its decision Feb. 16 in Washington.

Foreign governments generally have immunity from legal action in U.S. courts. But Congress in 2016 created an exception for countries that support terrorism. The exception allows the crew of the Pueblo to sue North Korea.

Former President Donald Trump listed North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism in November 2017. President George W. Bush Jr. removed North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism in 2008.

“The intelligence vessel USS Pueblo was detained by North Korea on Jan. 23, 1968, in international waters off the eastern coast of the Korean Peninsula, and 83 crew members were imprisoned by North Korea. The DPRK released the crew on December 23, 1968, but did not return the USS Pueblo.