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

10 ways to tell it's rodeo week

Kids in cowboy's rodeo week.

IT'S rodeo week in Warwick and we love it.

We lost an RM Williams store... but for what!

Warwick now boasts its very own RM Williams shop.

I went to the new RM Williams store, and was not impressed.

Man falls from horse at Warwick campdraft

Emergency crews were called at 6.52am and treated the man in his 50s on scene.

Emergency crews were called at 6.52am.

Local Partners

Australia Day Award nominations now open

ALL those who know someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the Warwick community is encouraged to nominate them for an Australia Day Award.

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

Former Split Enz front man Tim Finn finds new niche

Singer Tim Finn has written the music for theatre production Ladies in Black.

Musician finds his way to theatre

Former Warwick State High student is second

Victorian rider and former Warwick High student Lee Kimber (right) goes for his beast at the Warwick Rodeo.

Former Warwick High student to compete in national finals

Check out some fashions from the Coast festival

FASHION: Ocean Zen range.

Images from the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival show what's hot

Australian Survivor's magician Matt out of tricks

Australian Survivor contestant Matt Tarrant.

SHOW'S power couple looks unstoppable in race to the finish.

Top floor teams take out The Block's terrace week

Kim and Chris pictured on their winning outdoor terrace in a scene from The Block.

RIVALS Kim and Chris and Julia and Sasha tie in final week of work.

Bob Dylan slammed as 'arrogant' for Nobel silence

Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan.

Singer the controversial winner of literature Nobel

Shannen Doherty reveals fear of dying in post on chemo

Actor Shannen Doherty shared this image of her lying in a hospital bed after a chemotherapy session.

Actor has been fighting cancer since 2015

Eddie Redmayne's stage fright on latest Harry Potter film

Actor Eddie Redmayne stars in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Actor felt like kid again when he got to film with a wand

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

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.