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Coroner confirms foul play onboard the ‘death ship’

A Sydney coroner has finally delivered a verdict on the so-called ‘death ship’. Three men died in mysterious circumstances on the Japanese bulker Sage Sagittarius in quick succession. A lengthy inquiry into the two deaths that occurred in Australian waters has now ruled that they died as a result of foul play.

Head chef Cesar Llanto, 42, died on August 2012 after either being thrown overboard or killed on the ship and his body disposed of later by a person or persons unknown, said New South Wales deputy state coroner Sharon Freund.

He disappeared off the coast of Cairns and his body has never been found.

Chief engineer, Hector Collado, 55, died a fortnight later on September 14 , from multiple injuries he sustained after being struck over the head by some kind of weapon by a person or persons unknown as the ship entered Newcastle, the coroner said.

Collado was then either thrown over the handrail outside the ship’s storeroom on the second deck or fell over the handrail to his death.

A third man, Kosaku Monji, 37, was found dead when the vessel was docked at the Japanese port of Kudamatsu on October 6.

“This was a murder ship and two men have lost their lives, two families have lost their bread winners, four children have lost their fathers so it’s a terrible time,” commented Dean Summers, the national co-ordinator for the International Transport Workers Federation.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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