Calls for probe over missing seafarer
The sister of a seafarer who went missing off the Dampier coast last month has not given up hope of her brother returning home alive as calls are made for an Australian-led investigation into the incident.
Philippine man Robert Bantol was presumed dead after reportedly falling overboard from the Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier M/V Spring Hydrangea en route from Dampier to China on April 30.
Mr Bantol’s sister Noemi Lee said her family was distraught.
“My parents are still hoping he’s safe and one day will come home,” she said.
The Dampier Seafarer’s Centre has also been in contact with Mr Bantol’s brother who came into Dampier Port as a seafarer on another ship recently.
International Transport Workers Federation Australian co-ordinator Dean Summers said the best Mr Bantol’s family could hope for without an Australian Federal Police investigation was a report from the flag state.
“(Panama) will take no responsibility for any sort of investigation,” he said.
“The family have got snippets of information from the Philippine manning agent... and it doesn’t stack up.”
Mr Bantol’s was the eighth reported death in Pilbara waters in the past year.
Dampier Seafarers Centre chaplain Ian McGilvray said there were always more ways to make work safer, but believed there was enough protection for seafarers these days under the Maritime Labour Convention.
“The thing for the family here is the fact they haven’t got closure and the trouble is I don’t think they ever will because the ship has now been sold.”
An AFP spokesman said the AFP was not dealing with the matter.