In this file photo, taken on July 28, 2017, a Korean People's Army guide walks aboard the USS Pueblo at the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum in Pyongyang, North Korea. (Photo: Yonhap News)
A United States federal district court has ordered North Korea to pay some 2.3 billion dollars in damages to the crew and family of a U.S. naval ship captured over five decades ago.
According to court documents released this week, the District Court for D.C. found North Korea was responsible for the kidnapping of the USS Pueblo and the imprisonment and torture of its crew members.
The Navy vessel was captured by North Korea in January 1968 while disguised as a marine research vessel.
At the time of the incident, the U.S. insisted the ship was in international waters.
All but one of its 83 crew members, who was killed, were released 11 months later, but had been mentally and physically abused during their captivity.
The court said 49 surviving crew members and their family, as well as those of deceased crew members, sought damages and that a government-appointed "special master" recommended a baseline compensation of 3.35 million dollars for each crew member, which the court accepted.
The court decision, however, will likely remain symbolic as Pyongyang has yet to acknowledge the ruling, and rarely concedes to foreign judicial orders.
The Pueblo remains in North Korea.
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