Calls for probe over miss­ing sea­farer

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

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.

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