by Mike Schuler
The captain of an Isle of Man-registered containership was murdered onboard his ship at the Port of Cartagena, Colombia, the ship’s manager has confirmed.
The exact details of the incident are still being investigated.
The incident took place last Thursday, April 16, 2020.
A statement from Zeaborn Ship Management on Saturday said that a seafarer on its managed containership Spirit of Hamburg was killed by an intruder onboard the ship. An update from the company on Monday confirmed the victim as Captain Myo Tun Zaw, the ship’s master.
Initial details of the incident published last week were conflicting. Colombian media reports said that the Captain was killed by members of his crew. These details were not confirmed by Zeaborn.
“The exact circumstances of the violent incident are yet unknown and police have started an official investigation into the events and conducted interviews with the crew of Spirit of Hamburg,” Zeeborn’s statement from Saturday said.
As of Monday, the ship was at anchor in Cartagena.
Zeaborn could not confirm additional details due to the ongoing investigation. The company on Saturday provided an update on the status of additional crew members on board.
“We would like to add that three senior officers are one month beyond their contractual relief date, but they are showing great professionalism in making the best of the current relief/repatriation restrictions. All other crew are due for relief between now and October,” Zeaborn said.
Monday’s statement from Zeaborn provided some additional details:
“As the official investigation is still ongoing we have no further information on the culprit(s) of this terrible crime. In the meantime we have noticed a lot of speculation on social media and in some of the traditional press on what might have happened. As long as the authorities have not finished their investigation and announced official results we believe it is inappropriate to draw any conclusions which are not only premature but also are extremely upsetting for our crew and their families at home,” the update said.
The Isle of Man Registry said the Colombian authorities have jurisdiction over the ship and are currently carrying out an investigation.
The crew of the vessel originated from Myanmar, Ethiopia and Russia, Zeaborn said on Monday.
Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, representatives from Zeaborn have been unable to travel to the vessel.
“They are all professional seafarers whom we are supporting to the best of our ability and who have been offered psychological help,” Zeaborn said on Monday.
“Through local representatives in Myanmar we are doing our utmost to support the family of Captain Myo Tun Zaw as well as the direct family of the other seafarers at this extremely difficult time. Again travel restrictions prevent us regrettably from travelling to Myanmar to express our personal respect and condolences. Similar contact was made with the families of the other nationalities seafarers.
“The events on board the Spirit of Hamburg represents a great tragedy. Once more we want to emphasise that we have to support and wait for the Colombian Authorities whom we are sure are making every effort to bring their investigation to a conclusive end,” Zeaborn added.