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Deaths on Sage Sagittarius to be examined by coroner

NOW into its second year of investigation, the cases of two ship-workers killed on the Sage Sagittarius will now be examined by the New South Wales coroner.

The NSW Coroner's Court heard a coroner would be appointed to investigate next week.

Both the Australian Federal Police and their NSW counterparts are understood to have provided a brief of information to the court this week.

Cesar Llanto disappeared overboard from the Sage Sagittarius on August 30, 2012 as it approached Australian waters.

Two weeks later, Hector Collado was killed after suffering a fall while the ship was moored at the Port of Newcastle.

On October 6, Kosaku Monji- a Japanese superintendent added to the crew after the first two deaths - was killed after falling into the ship's machinery as the Sagittarius docked in Japan.

Mr Monji's death is being investigated by Japanese authorities.

At the time, the International Transport Workers Federation dubbed the Sage Sagittarius a "death or murder ship".

The incidents aboard the Sage Sagittarius made headlines this week after ITF coordinator Dean Summers questioned what authorities had achieved after 16 months of investigation.

His concerns were backed by shipping expert and former federal transport minister Peter Morris who also demanded answers.

After the court hearing on Friday, Mr Summers said he felt satisfied the deaths were now finally in focus.

"The process has seemed very long and drawn out," he said.

"It's 16 months after the first death and we're now about to get a coroner appointed to the inquest.

"It's disappointing but we understand these wheels turn very slowly."

Mr Summers said the ITF would now work to protect the interests of Mr Collado and Mr Llanto during the hearings.

Topics:  coronial inquest sage-sagittarius



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