Critical death ship recordings deleted, court told

AUDIO recordings on board the so-called "death ship" where three crew members died or disappeared within six weeks were most likely deliberately deleted, a coronial inquest has been told.

And the shipping company's executive director failed to tell Japanese authorities there could be a link between the fatalities.

The Sydney inquest into chief cook Cesar Llanto's disappearance and the death of chief engineer Hector Collado on one of the world's largest coal ships, Sage Sagittarius, has heard it was "very likely" crucial audio recordings from the ship's voyage data recorder had been tampered with or deleted.

In less than two months, three seafarers were killed while working aboard the Japanese-owned Sage Sagittarius, earning it the label of "death ship" by international welfare groups
In less than two months, three seafarers were killed while working aboard the Japanese-owned Sage Sagittarius, earning it the label of "death ship" by international welfare groups

Mr Llanto, 42, disappeared overboard off Cairns on August 30, 2012.

Mr Collado, 55, died a fortnight later after plummeting 12 storeys down an engineering shaft when the ship was moored at the Port of Newcastle.

Superintendent Kosaku Monji, whose death is not being investigated, was sent to the ship to calm down the terrified crew.

But all the crew except one flew back to their respective homes before Australian Federal Police and NSW Police officers could learn much through interviews.

Mr Monji began his own internal audit of the deaths, but it was cut short when his body was found crushed and mangled in a conveyor belt on October 6 when the ship was in Japan - outside the NSW Coroner's jurisdiction.

The three men died or disappeared within a 37-day period.

Despite the possible links, Japanese Coast Guard and Japanese Transport Safety Board investigating Mr Monji's death were not told of the other two men.

The shipping company's executive director Shigeto Yoshimura appeared before the Coroner via video link from Japan, with a court-appointed interpreter translating from the courtroom.

"I don't think there is any sort of relationship amongst these three deaths," Mr Yoshimura said.

Counsel assisting the Coroner Phillip Strickland asked if it was up to the investigating bodies to decide whether possible links were relevant, not Mr Yoshimura.

"Is it the case that you didn't want the Japanese Coast Guard or the Japanese Transport Safety Board to know about the disappearance of the chief cook and the death of the chief engineer?" Mr Strickland asked.

Mr Yoshimura conceded he did not report the other deaths "probably because I did not want to delay the operation of the ship".

The inquest, which has been running since 2014, had already heard the ship's captain, Venancio Salas, had been accused of bullying and physically assaulting the crew and illegally selling guns.

Mark Sanders, who spent 23 years in the navy and specialises in voyage data recorders, testified he believed audio recordings from the days Mr Collado and Mr Llanto died had been deliberately deleted.

Topics:  cesar llanto clinton towers death ship hector collado mark sanders sage sagittarius shigeto yoshimura suspicious death

Stay Connected

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

QGC ordered to pipe down by government

Nood and Narelle Nothdurft across the road from their home in Hopeland.

Complaints lead to EPO against QGC

Landholders vow to fight carbon storage plan

Property Rights Australia chairman and local landholder Dale Stiller asks a question of the CTSCo representatives at an information session in Wandoan on Tuesday afternoon.

Carbon storage plan panned at information session in Wandoan

What's on in the Western Downs

LOOKING SHARP: Robyn Haig, Trudi Webster, Sally Thompson, Amanda Maurice and Kim Bowman were all looking the part for last year's Melbourne Cup Day.

What's on in the Western Downs.

Local Partners

The legacy of Kath Bushnell

Kath Bushnell passed away last week after a two year battle with Motor Neurone Disease.

WATCH: NASA space station is live, see the view from above

In this picture taken from NASA's International Space Station from April 2015, the SpaceX Dragon is captured with the 57.7-foot-long Canadarm2 robotic arm before its installation to the Harmony module.

See the world from a new perspective as space station passes Rocky

Community garden set for Palmwoods

Kay Nixon at the Palmwoods Community Gardens will be hosting a launch day and inviting the ecommunity to come along and sign up.

Parcel of land to supply sustainable gardening for community

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Mariah Carey and James Packer discussing relationship

Mariah Carey and James Packer are discussing how to work things out

January Jones: Take time away from your phone

January Jones needs time away from her phone

Mel C won't return to Spice Girls for daughter

MEL C is adamant she won't reunite with the Spice Girls

60's British rock legends to return to Australia

The Troggs will play a string of dates across Australia in November.  Photo Contributed

We all remember 'Wild Thing' and now you can hear it live.

Depp jumps ship from agency of 25 years

Johnny Depp has signed to CAA after 25 years with the United

Orlando Bloom 'buried' Katy Perry in birthday flowers

Orlando Bloom "buried" Katy Perry in flowers for her birthday

Want to own one of Australia's best restaurants?

TOP GONG: Mooloolaba Spice Bar has been named in TripAdvisor's Top 10 Australian restaurants for 2016.

Here's your chance to pick up one of the Coast's favourite eateries

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!