Inquest: Foul Play behind Sage Sagittarius Deaths

The New South Wales Coroner Court has launched an investigation into two of three deaths on board the Panama-flagged coal carrier Sage Sagittarius that occurred three years ago in Australian waters.

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 chief engineer Hector Collado, who is believed to had fell from an 11-metre deck to a deck below while en route to New Castle, 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.

The vessel, now referred to as the “Death ship”, has been involved in three incidents in only 6 months.

During an inquest hearing on Wednesday, it was said that the two crew members were likely to had met with foul play, as the ship’s captain was accused of physically assaulting the crew,  the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

In addition, the court heard there was “intense conflict and mutual mistrust” on the ship that prevented the crew from stepping forward on what actually happened.

Suspicions have also been raised over the true cause of the engineer’s death as forensic investigation determined that he had sustained a head injury that appeared unrelated to the fall.

During the hearing, the engineer’s widow said in a video call that Collado had expressed fears for his life prior to his death.

The inquest the resumes and will hear from the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and company representatives.

World Maritime News Staff



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