News

Did "death ship" captain pervert the course of justice?

THE former captain of the now-notorious "death ship" could face charges of perverting the course of justice as the inquest into how three men came to die under his command wraps up.

Captain Venancio Salas Jr led the Sage Sagittarius coal ship during its voyage into Australian waters when the vessel's chief cook and chief engineer each died in suspicious circumstances.

Ceser Plete Llanto, 42 disappeared on the morning of August 30, 2012 as the Sage Sagittarius headed south along the Queensland coast bound for Newcastle.

Two weeks later, Hector Collado, 55, was killed on September 14 at 8am after being struck in the skull then falling 11m as the Sagittarius arrived in Newcastle.

Capt Salas came under increasing pressure at the New South Wales coronial inquest, in which he struggled to explain how an on-board voice recorder -- akin to a aircraft's black box -- was somehow disabled on days when crew members died.

Capt Salas has previously admitted in court to physically assaulting and tormenting a gay crew member and selling guns on board.

In its submissions to Assistant Coroner Sharon Freund this week, counsel assisting Phillip Strickland said the two deaths were caused by "foul play", and the captain had lied to Australian Federal Police about his whereabouts at the time.

Capt Salas also had the opportunity and motive to delete data from the bridge voice recorder.
 

The railing of the Sage Sagittarius where Cesar Llanto is thought to have disappeared overboard.
The railing of the Sage Sagittarius where Cesar Llanto is thought to have disappeared overboard.

 

International Transport Workers Federation national coordinator Dean Summers said the captain ought to be charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.

He said the ITF -- which represents seafarers worldwide -- would make a case that Capt Salas committed "an indictable offence.

Mr Summers said only vessels registered in a developing country, known as a flag of convenience ship, would allow "this kind of brutality".

"There's a high cost involved in cheap shipping -- intimidation, bullying -- and in this case, people have paid with their lives," Mr Summers said.

Capt Salas was brought before the court after Australian Regional Media revealed he had returned to Australia on a new vessel, without the knowledge of Border Patrol, the Australian Federal Police or the courts.

The revelations prompted authorities to compel Capt Salas to give evidence in Sydney, which exposed inconsistencies in the statements he had earlier given to the court and to police.

The Sagittarius continues to travel between Japan and Australia, and has previously visited the ports of Abbot Point and Gladstone in Queensland.

 

Topics:  captain venancio salas death ship editors picks sage sagittarius


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

OPINION: We really are a nation of welfare bludgers

Centrelink

Eight out of 10 cents from taxpayer going to fund welfare

Man repeatedly struck with baseball bat during robbery

Police are investigating a violent robbery at a Loganlea store.

One of the men put the man in a headlock

Man killed after van bursts into flames in crash

Two cars were involved in the crash

Local Partners

Buderim dad rejects gay son's emotional plea for second time

Bride and Prejudice: Son’s emotional plea rejected again by unmoved father

What's on the big screen this week

Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.

This week's new releases offer plenty of variety for movie buffs.

REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Hodges proud to be part of first channel dedicated to NRL

Justin Hodges is gearing up for his new gig on Fox League.

Footy star hopes to provide a voice for players on new NRL channel

Furious Price wants to quit I'm a Celeb after clash with Keira

Steve Price has threatened to quit the jungle.

Will camp ration clash with Keira cause Steve to call it quits?

Novel with lots of heart

The romance in A Quiet Kind of Thunder was only one of the joys of the book.

Book proves to be a gem with layers

Bliss N Eso announce tribute show for stuntman

Bliss N Eso will play a tribute show at Coolangatta in honour of Johann Ofner. The stuntman died during the filming of the group's Friend Like You film clip earlier this year.

BLISS N Eso to play tribute show to raise funds for killed stuntman

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Expert: Why renters, home buyers may struggle

Matusik Property Insights director Michael Matusik.

What's next for the city's housing market

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!