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20.02.2009 Crime & Punishment

Russian Captain remanded over death of crew member


The Captain of a Russian Tanker, Yuri Ivanov, has been remanded in prison custody by a Tema Circuit Court, for allegedly murdering one of his crew members.

His plea was not taken and he is to re-appear, before the court, presided over by Mrs Laurenda Owusu, on February 26.

Chief Inspector Adolphus Otchere, prosecuting, stated that while at the high seas a misunderstanding ensued between the Captain and the deceased who then requested that he should be taken to the nearest port for him to resign, but the Captain ignored his request.

He said days later the kitchen staff detected that one of the kitchen knives was missing from the kitchen and a report was made to the accused person, because of his position.

However, the Captain failed to make entries in the log book.

On February four, the crew members detected the disappearance of their colleague and again informed the Captain.

Consequently, they returned to look for their missing colleague but to their surprise, they found his dead body floating on the sea.

The body was retrieved and they proceeded to the Tema port, which was the nearest to berth.

But instead of informing the police first, the body was deposited at the Tema General Hospital (TGH) morgue, with the assistance of the local agent, 'SECTECLGH Limited.'

Afterwards, they reported the matter to the police.

Prosecution indicated that a post mortem examination revealed haemorrhage, protruding intestines, and traces of deep cuts on the lower abdomen, thus raising suspicions of a foul play.

Leading counsel for the accused person, Richard Akpokavie, argued that the court had no jurisdiction to prosecute the case because the offence was not committed in Ghanaian waters; the vessel is also not a Ghanaian registered one and the accused is not a Ghanaian.

The Tanker, 'Conti Guinea,' is owned by the Colombian Shipping Management

of Germany.