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Man’s body wrapped in plastic pulled from ship at Gladstone

The ship Beaufiks berthed at Hay Pt, south of Mackay, as seafarers sought medical attention in mackay after one of the seafarers died at sea.
The ship Beaufiks berthed at Hay Pt, south of Mackay, as seafarers sought medical attention in mackay after one of the seafarers died at sea. Lee Constable

AN INVESTIGATION is underway into the death of a man who died at sea, and was then wrapped in plastic, before his body was removed once the ship docked in Gladstone.

The 26-year-old sailor Christian Borbon died on December 19 after complaining of a sore throat.

He had allegedly been treated by a doctor in China for a pertitonsillar abscess and tonsil inflammation on December 14 and ordered onto light duties for four days before returning to his normal job.

But Mr Borbon died five days later on board the Beaufiks.

Under direction from the ship's master, the crew then reportedly cleaned the body, changed his clothes wrapped his body in plastic and masking tape.

Although the body was taken to a coroner on December 30, 11 days after he died, and the autopsy started on Monday, it could take up to six months to determine the exact cause of death.

The remaining crew --- at least seven of whom had also complained of a sore throat --- were treated by a doctor on Monday, but only after intervention from the International Transport Federation who have called for a coronial inquest into the death.

Despite advice from Gladstone based Queensland ITF inspector Sarah Maguire that the Japanese owned ship should stay in Gladstone - it sailed to Mackay.

Ms Maguire said the company appeared not to offer any medical treatment until she told them it was required by international law.

"(The master) shouldn't have waited for me to tell him he had to organise medical treatment," Ms Maguire said.

"They were anchored for four or five days (waiting to berth). That's plenty of time to organise a doctor."

ITF says the crew members were told they would need to pay $500 each to see a doctor in Gladstone. 

Ms Maguire said she had also uncovered an issue with the ship's supply of drinking water after the on board water maker broke.

However Ms Maguire said the company, Nissen Kaiun, has now fixed the water maker; that will be checked by inspectors in Mackay.

The ship has now left Mackay and is headed to Rotterdam - a 50 day at sea voyage.

We are still waiting on a response from the Japanese shipping company.

Topics:  death at sea, editors picks, itf, shipping




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