News

Ship owners thought Sagittarius death might be murder

IN the days after an experienced cook disappeared overboard from a giant coal carrying ship off the Queensland coastline, police considered it a potential murder investigation.

They were not the only ones.

A coronial inquest into how two Filipino sailors died aboard the Sage Sagittarius or "death ship" returned on Monday.

The suspected death of chief cook Cesar Llanto  on August 30 rang alarm bells for the Australian Federal Police and the ship's owners.

Sage Sagittarius.
Sage Sagittarius.

The inquest heard an executive with owners NYK Line flagged to a colleague by email that "one crew of the vessel has been missed" from the Sagittarius, which has previously visited ports in Gladstone and Abbot Point.

NYK Australia's Shigehiko Ochiai  told fellow executive Jason Glynn  to take action because he feared there could be a threat on board.

"NYK Tokyo has organised crisis management to fix this incident because there is a few possibility of murder," Mr Ochiai wrote.

When questioned about this email, Mr Glynn told the inquest he was not overly concerned because he thought it was a translation error.

The following day he helped organise security guards to accompany two NYK staff who were flying in to board the ship off Brisbane.

They were not the only ones concerned about safety.

AFP Detective Sergeant Nuckhley Succar was the first case officer for the investigation.

He told the inquest he did not consider Mr Llanto's death to be the result of suicide or workplace accident.

His view was that the death was "highly suspicious so the investigation commenced into the alleged murder".

This evidence shows for the first time that Mr Llanto's death was immediately considered a potential homicide.

FOLLOW OUR MAJOR INVESTIGATION: ABOARD THE DEATH SHIP

The AFP boarded the ship in Port Kembla on September 7, a week after Mr Llanto disappeared and three days after NYK staff joined the crew.

A deal struck between the AFP and NYK Line meant investigators had a single day to interview the dozens of crew members on board.

This was done to avoid the huge costs associated with delaying the vessel.

Det Sgt Succar said it meant interviewing from 6am to 11pm, and often being "hurried up" mid-interview.

After meeting their deadline, the ship travelled to nearby Newcastle where chief engineer Hector Collado  would suffer a blow to his skull before falling to his death on September 14.

The inquest resumes this morning.
 

Topics:  deathship, nyk line, sage sagittarius




BREAKING: Car driver killed in horror crash with truck in Gladstone

A driver had died in a crash on Hanson Rd.

A BLANKET was laid over the car at the scene of a horror crash.

Open to taking away fears

INTERACTION: The Islamic Society of Gladstone open day as part of Multicultural Week last year.

Islamic Society of Gladstone is hosting an open day on Sunday

BREAKING: 'Flames from the roof': Gladstone house fire 'reignited'

A house is well-alight in New Auckland.

Fire crews are still on the scene of a house fire.

Latest deals and offers

Thy Art Is Murder are killing it

See Thy Art is Murder on their killer tour happening right now. Photo Contributed

We talk with Thy Art is Murder about touring, babies, and new music

Date announced for Prince tribute concert

A Prince tribute concert will take place later this year

Matt Damon is taking a break from acting

Matt Damon is taking a break to spend time with his family

Police foiled terrifying 1m plot to kidnap Katie Price

Police foiled a £1 million plot to kidnap Katie Price and her family

Kristen Bell's baby confession

Kristen Bell once pretended to be asleep when her baby woke up early

Babylon 5's Jerry Doyle has died

Jerry Doyle has died from unknown causes at the age of 60

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

The climb is slow but property on the way up

Michael Matusik, director of Matusik Property Insights.Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin

The improvement would be mild when compared to past cycles