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

Groundwork for multi-million dollar airport upgrade begins

UPGRADE BEGINS: A $6.5 million upgrade to the Coffs Harbour Regional Airport has started.

Work to $6.5million airport upgrade begins

Greens fight and fuss but shark nets are coming

The NSW Government has vowed to reintroduce old-style mesh shark nets to North Coast beaches.

Mesh shark nets almost certain to arrive at North Coast beaches

Local stars making a Rally Australia splash

AWESOME: Woolgoolga driver Mark Beard will be among a number of local entrants racing in the Kennards Hire Rally Australia.

Local talent in Rally Australia entry list among the WRC stars.

Local Partners

Family's new arrival in face of tragedy

MEL Small had already gone into labour when she learned of the tragic fate of her sister Jodie Spears.

Survive and support this Pink Ribbon Day

Denise Bass, Kathy Clough and cancer survivor Dorothy Lockart at Pink Ribbon Day stall in the mall.

Cancer survivors often say the diagnosis is the toughest part.

Blooming Woolgoolga

Handmade flowers have brought colour to mental health in Woolgoolga.

HANDMADE flowers have brought colour to mental health in Woolgoolga.

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

First look at Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life series

Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel in a scene from the TV series Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.

NETFLIX drops first trailer for its revival of fan favourite.

How Kristie blind-sided everyone to win Australian Survivor

Kristie Bennett wins Australian Survivor.

FAN favourite says she was underestimated by her competitors.

Steve Irwin's final days through dad's eyes

Bob Irwin with his son Steve.

'You never expect that’s the last time you’re going to see your son'

Kristie doesn't mind being the third wheel in Survivor final

Kristie Bennett in a scene from Australian Survivor.

SOLO player will take on Survivor's power couple Lee and El tonight.

Scary hoping Posh and Sporty will re-join The Spice Girls

Mel B

Mel B hoping Victoria Beckham, Mel C will re-join The Spice Girls

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

Politicians promise homebuyers a helping hand

PROMISE: Canberra has plans to address housing affordability.

How Coffs can help fix housing affordability

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'

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June