Critical death ship recordings deleted, court told

AUDIO recordings on board the so-called "death ship" where three crew members died or disappeared within six weeks were most likely deliberately deleted, a coronial inquest has been told.

And the shipping company's executive director failed to tell Japanese authorities there could be a link between the fatalities.

The Sydney inquest into chief cook Cesar Llanto's disappearance and the death of chief engineer Hector Collado on one of the world's largest coal ships, Sage Sagittarius, has heard it was "very likely" crucial audio recordings from the ship's voyage data recorder had been tampered with or deleted.

In less than two months, three seafarers were killed while working aboard the Japanese-owned Sage Sagittarius, earning it the label of "death ship" by international welfare groups
In less than two months, three seafarers were killed while working aboard the Japanese-owned Sage Sagittarius, earning it the label of "death ship" by international welfare groups

Mr Llanto, 42, disappeared overboard off Cairns on August 30, 2012.

Mr Collado, 55, died a fortnight later after plummeting 12 storeys down an engineering shaft when the ship was moored at the Port of Newcastle.

Superintendent Kosaku Monji, whose death is not being investigated, was sent to the ship to calm down the terrified crew.

But all the crew except one flew back to their respective homes before Australian Federal Police and NSW Police officers could learn much through interviews.

Mr Monji began his own internal audit of the deaths, but it was cut short when his body was found crushed and mangled in a conveyor belt on October 6 when the ship was in Japan - outside the NSW Coroner's jurisdiction.

The three men died or disappeared within a 37-day period.

Despite the possible links, Japanese Coast Guard and Japanese Transport Safety Board investigating Mr Monji's death were not told of the other two men.

The shipping company's executive director Shigeto Yoshimura appeared before the Coroner via video link from Japan, with a court-appointed interpreter translating from the courtroom.

"I don't think there is any sort of relationship amongst these three deaths," Mr Yoshimura said.

Counsel assisting the Coroner Phillip Strickland asked if it was up to the investigating bodies to decide whether possible links were relevant, not Mr Yoshimura.

"Is it the case that you didn't want the Japanese Coast Guard or the Japanese Transport Safety Board to know about the disappearance of the chief cook and the death of the chief engineer?" Mr Strickland asked.

Mr Yoshimura conceded he did not report the other deaths "probably because I did not want to delay the operation of the ship".

The inquest, which has been running since 2014, had already heard the ship's captain, Venancio Salas, had been accused of bullying and physically assaulting the crew and illegally selling guns.

Mark Sanders, who spent 23 years in the navy and specialises in voyage data recorders, testified he believed audio recordings from the days Mr Collado and Mr Llanto died had been deliberately deleted.

Topics:  cesar llanto clinton towers death ship hector collado mark sanders sage sagittarius shigeto yoshimura suspicious death

Tenants flock to Gladstone as rentals dry up

NEW FIGURES reveal tenants should lock in a long-term lease now.

Dreamworld deaths 'followed' funeral directors on holiday

Thunder River Rapids ride was next on their list to do

He 'appeared' to wet his pants before police arrived

James Bell outside Gladstone Courthouse.

MAN appeared to have urinated himself.

Local Partners

Steve Irwin's final days through dad's eyes

Bob Irwin with his son Steve.

'You never expect that’s the last time you’re going to see your son'

Kristie doesn't mind being the third wheel in Survivor final

Kristie Bennett in a scene from Australian Survivor.

SOLO player will take on Survivor's power couple Lee and El tonight.

Scary hoping Posh and Sporty will re-join The Spice Girls

Mel B

Mel B hoping Victoria Beckham, Mel C will re-join The Spice Girls

REVIEW: Michael McIntyre has Brisbane in stitches

Michael McIntyre in a scene from his TV series Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

BRITISH comedian is in the country on his Happy and Glorious Tour.

Cliff Richard doesn't need Rod Stewart's help with legal bills

Sir Cliff Richard

"'Don't worry, I'm loaded. I won't keep you to it.' "

Coles to pay new owner of Tannum servo $320K

UP FOR GRABS: Expressions of interest in Tannum's new service station, which will house the new Coles Express, closed this month.

INVESTORS bid for new Tannum service station under construction.

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June