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Incident occurred on international waters: Widow of slain ship captain seeks Bongbong Marcos’ help

Widow of slain ship captain seeks Bongbong Marcos’ help
Jhunnex Napallacan - September 30, 2023

CEBU CITY—The widow of a ship captain, who was fatally stabbed by a chief cook aboard an international vessel two years ago, is reaching out to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos for assistance in seeking justice for her husband.

Martha (a pseudonym used for protection) spoke to the Inquirer on Sept. 24, choosing to remain anonymous due to concerns of retaliation from the suspect’s associates. The suspect is currently detained in Mauritius.

“I hope President Marcos will be able to help us find justice for my husband–a very responsible one,” she said, crying.

Martha and two of her three children attended the National Seafarers Day celebration at Pier 3 in Cebu City on Sept. 24. The Stella Maris Seafarers Center Cebu organized the event in honor of Our Lady Star of the Sea, Stella Maris, the seafarers’ patroness.

Fr. John Mission, the national director of the Stella Maris Seafarers Center, officiated the memorial and wreath-laying ceremony at Pier 3 following a fluvial procession through the Mactan Channel.

The event saw attendance from numerous seafarers, their families, relatives of deceased or missing seafarers, maritime training center officials, Philippine Coast Guard personnel, and other port officials.

Recalling the incident, Martha described the events of Nov. 21, 2021, as they were relayed to her. Martha mentioned that her husband had been displeased when undeclared cigarettes from the ship were confiscated by customs officers in Africa.

The illicit items were traced back to several crew members, including the chief cook. The ship captain admonished his crew to refrain from illegal activities, which led to tensions with the chief cook.

The two met to discuss the matter, during which the captain felt threatened, though the cook later apologized. However, on the evening of Nov. 21, the chief cook is alleged to have entered the captain’s cabin and stabbed him multiple times.

Autopsy reports indicated that the captain suffered 45 stab wounds. Following the attack, the cabin was locked from the inside, and crew members had to break in to discover the grisly scene.

The nearest port was Mauritius, where the chief cook was taken into custody. However, authorities in Mauritius stated that they couldn’t prosecute the cook as the incident occurred on international waters, as per the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Martha mentioned she has sought aid from the Department of Migrant Workers concerning the matter.