Federal government should carry out an inquiry into the three deaths on board the Japanese-owned and operated bulk carrier Sage Sagittarius (IMO 9233545), according to the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).
“I haven’t seen in all my years at sea, anything that resembles this. I haven’t seen two [deaths], let alone three, so closely together,” said ITF coordinator Dean Summers.
Currently, the incidents aboard the Panama-flagged Sage Sagittarius are subject to three separate investigations – by the Australian Federal Police, by the New South Wales Police and by Japanese authorities.
As the flag state, Panama has a responsibility to investigate the deaths.
However, the ITF says the Panamanian authorities have not done anything yet.
Although Lloyd’s List Australia has made inquiries, we have been unable either to verify or refute this statement, at the point of publication.
“We’re calling for a coordinated response that sees across these jurisdictions.
"It’s difficult to work in those four jurisdictions but our Federal government has got a responsibility to do that.”
The office of the minister for justice Jason Clare received the ITF’s call for an inquiry about a week ago.
A spokesman for Mr Clare said that it is still under consideration.
The ITF is currently undertaking a "week of action" at Newcastle's port to inspect ships sailing under what the ITF describes as “flags of convenience”, a union-term for ships flying the flags of open registries.
Panama-flagged ships are on the White List of the Paris MoU – a port state control safety reporting body.
In the period 2009 to 2011, Panama-flagged ships were inspected 7611 times by port state control inspectors resulting in 345 detentions.
Sage Sagittarius (IMO 9233545) is a 105,708 dwt, 2001-built, dry bulk carrier, according to Equasis and Lloyd’s List Intelligence.
It is owned and operated by Hachiuma Steamship of Japan, which is a subsidiary of shipping company NYK.