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

Stay Connected

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

Expo a cut above the rest

AWARD WINNING: Frank and Cathy Finger took home five awards, including Grand Champion Exhibit.

The 2016 Clermont Beef Expo built on success of previous years.

Key development opportunity at Yamala

The CHDC Investing in our Future conference for 2016.

THe CQ Inland Port site at Yamala being discussed.

Reaching high speeds

AWARD WINNER: Elizabeth McClymont-Mortensen (left) presented Kristy Sparrow as the 2016 Innovation and Leadership Award winner.

Alpha local recognised for innovation.

Local Partners

Emergency services' generous donation

Emerald emergency services have made a generous donation to Emerald Neighbourhood Centre.

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

Walk into Wonderland this weekend

The committee from last year's Sip in Style who are planning this year's event.

Sip and Style is on this Saturday night in Clermont.

Come along to open day

The Gemfields Ambulance Station.

THE Gemfields Ambulance Station is holding an open day.

Tom Cruise credits success to Scientology

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise credits his success to Scientology

Hacksaw Ridge leads AACTA Awards nominations

Andrew Garfield and Teresa Palmer in a scene from the movie Hacksaw Ridge.

MEL Gibson's wartime drama opens in cinemas next week.

ABBA to reunite for virtual live experience


ABBA have confirmed they are to reunite - in virtual reality form

Hugh Laurie receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hugh Laurie on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hugh Laurie and his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Blake Lively hosts 40th party for Ryan Reynolds

Blake Lively throws husband Ryan Reynold's 40th birthday bash

What's on the big screen this week

Benedict Cumberbatch in a scene from the movie Doctor Strange.

MARVEL'S latest superhero Doctor Strange makes his debut.

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

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