Australia Looks Into Maritime Security Gaps

Australia is focusing on the dangerous gaps in its maritime security, brought about by the Sage Sagittarius incidents, as it resumed the Senate Inquiry into Flag of Convenience (FOC) Shipping.

The inquiry over national security issues was continued this week on the back of the New South Wales Coroner’s findings related to the deaths of two foreign seafarers aboard the (FOC) MV Sage Sagittarius in Australian waters in 2012.

The ship’s captain, Venancio Salas Jr, did not warrant a red flag when he returned to work for eight months in Australian waters, despite him admitting to selling guns on board and being a person of interest in the coronial inquest, International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) informed.

“Australia’s national security is increasingly at risk as we become more reliant on the dodgy FOC system for our domestic trade and fuel security,” Dean Summers, ITF Australian Coordinator, said.

“Last month, the Federal Government effectively dismissed all of the Senate Inquiry’s interim recommendations. This ignores warnings of national security threats and encourages future exploitation and harm of foreign workers,” Summers added.

The NSW Coroner recently released findings into the Sage Sagittarius case, after a two-year investigation, proving that the ship’s chief cook Cesar Llanto and chief engineer Hector Collado met with foul play at the hands of other unidentified persons on board the FOC ship.

The Coroner recommended the findings be sent to Japanese authorities to investigate a third suspicious death on board. A company official, sent by the owners to Australia to investigate, was found dead on the ship once it docked back in Japan.