Coal carrying ‘death ship’ under scrutiny

Coal carrying ‘death ship’ under scrutiny

The Panamanian-flagged Sage Sagittarius. (Image courtesy of 

A coal carrier already subject of investigation by Australian authorities for the deaths of two Filipino workers is once again under scrutiny following fresh allegations safety rules breaching.

Recent inspections at the Sage Sagittarius, a coal freight that runs regularly between Newcastle and Japan, revealed that safety equipment and switches were in bad shape or plainly inoperable.

Authorities from the International Transport Federation (ITF), who conducted the latest assessment, told The Queensland Times they were gagged by the ship’s owners during the process, and were not able to point at any of the several unsafe conditions while on board.

Dean Summers, ITF Australia co-ordinator, added he had been aboard the vessel several times, once with the NSW coroner to investigate three suspicious deaths back in 2012. One man fell overboard, another fell down a staircase and the last accident victim was chewed up on a conveyer belt.

Summers said that the maritime transport aspect of the mining industry was one that never received enough attention from mining companies or awareness of the general public.

“Unfortunately the mining industry takes very little responsibility for cargos once they are at the wharf,” he was quoted as saying.

The ship is registered in Panama.