Hachiuma Steamship left ‘death ship’ investigations to the police

Hachiuma Steamship left ‘death ship’ investigations to the police

Tokyo: The managing director of Hachiuma Steamship, the firm that manages the infamous Sage Sagittarius bulk carrier dubbed the death ship by Australian media, has told Splash that the company left the investigation of the mysterious three deaths onboard in a six-week period back in 2012 to the police.

“Hachiuma Steamship was not qualified to embark upon what was essentially a police investigation,” Captain Hitoshi Kamei said today. Hachiuma Steamship is a subsidiary of Japanese shipping major Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK).

“As the shipmanager responsible for the day-to-day operations of the vessel, what we could do was offer our total cooperation and access to various crewmembers to the appropriate authorities, which we have done,” he added.

Two Filipino seamen, chief cook Cesar Llanto and chief engineer Hector Collado, died on the Sage Sagittarius in August and September 2012 as the Panama-flagged vessel was en route to Australia.

Then a Japanese superintendent, Kosaku Monji, was crushed to death on a conveyor belt when the ship was docked in southern Japan on October 6, 2012.

Kamei also confirmed that the then master of the Sage Sagittarius, Venancio Salas, no longer works for the company. Salas has been accused of gun running, punching crew, and trying to cover up incriminating evidence at a recent inquest into the deaths in Sydney. Splash understands however that the Filipino national is still working on ships at present.

In a statement given to Splash NYK said it has “great sympathy for the families impacted by the tragic deaths on board the Sage Sagittarius in late 2012”.

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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