Death Ship Owners Offered Hush Money

Owners of what has been dubbed as the “death ship” NYK Line are reported to have offered a pay off to the widow of the ship’s deceased engineer.

Namely, Mrs Collado has been offered AUD$ 47,620 in compensation for her husband’s death in return for waiving any right to legal action, writes APN Australian Regional Media.

Mrs Collado has refused the compensation and has taken on legal representation.

Hector Collado had worked as a chief engineer on board of the Panama-flagged coal carrier Sage Sagittarius.

He is believed to had fell to his death from an 11-metre deck to a deck below while en route to New Castle. However, the suspicious circumstances surrounding the engineer’s death are further underlined by the findings of a forensic investigation showing that Collado had a head injury that was unrelated to the fall.

Collado’s death is one of the three suspicious death cases that occurred on board the ship in 2012, two of which have been subjected to an inquest by the New South Wales Coroner Court.

The vessel’s chief cook, Cesar Llanto, went missing in April 2012 while the ship was en route in the Coral Sea.

The incident was followed by the death of Collado, whereas the third incident happened in October while the ship was unloading in Japan when a worker of the ship’s managing company, Hachiuma Steamship, was killed after being crushed in a conveyer belt.

During an inquest hearing on Wednesday, it was said that the crew members were likely to had met with foul play, as the ship’s captain was accused of physically assaulting the crew. The ship’s captain also admitted to had beeing involved in gun running.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is pushing for a Australian senate inquiry into flag of convenience (FOC) shipping following a damning exposé on Australia’s Four Corners television programme into three deaths at sea on board the MV Sage Sagittarius.

Four Corners focused on the deaths of two Filipino nationals – chief cook Cesar Llanto and chief engineer Hector Collado – and Japanese superintendent Kosaku Monji on board the Panama-flagged coal carrier in 2012.

ITF Australia national coordinator Dean Summers, who is a party to the inquest, said: “Four Corners highlighted the high cost of cheap shipping. We need a senate Inquiry to investigate the real dangers of flag of convenience shipping, as it poses a real and serious threat to Australia’s national security, environment and fuel security, as well to the lives and welfare of international seafarers.

“This is not a new issue. The Australian Parliament investigated the inhumane treatment of international seafarers through the 1992 Ships of Shame report and, unfortunately, it seems little has changed.”

The call follows the ITF’s recent condemnation of the conservative Australian government’s moves to reform its shipping industry by the removal of cabotage, or rules which encourage investment in the local industry. It warned that this would weaken labour and safety standards and regulation and threaten thousands of domestic jobs in the maritime sector.

“These changes would lead to domestic job losses and a reduction of standards and conditions for workers as Australia actively embraces a race to the bottom on shipping and aviation. They would dismantle a comprehensive reform package delivered by the previous government three years ago that created a level playing field in domestic shipping,” ITF president Paddy Crumlin said.

According to ITF, the Sage Sagittarius is not an isolated incident. Just last week, it was reported that a seafarer is presumed dead after falling overboard off the coast of Papua New Guinea on 14 May from another coal ship en route to Newcastle, the Korean-flagged K Pride.

In addition, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said last week it cannot afford to clean up all the toxic mess from the Shen Neng One, a Chinese bulk coal carrier which ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef in 2010.

World Maritime News Staff

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