A ship at the centre of a suspected murder at sea has docked at Port Kembla.
The commercial coal ship departed from Japan and had been scheduled to load in Newcastle next week but was diverted by authorities and docked in Port Kembla at 10am.
Mr Summers was due to arrive at the port at 1pm and planned to board the ship to provide support to the crew members.
‘‘We are demanding a full investigation,’’ he said.
‘‘Too often these things go unreported, it happens far too often, seafarers go over the side and it’s not investigated.’’
The Australian Federal Police confirmed they were conducting enquiries into the matter.
‘‘As this is an ongoing matter, it would not be appropriate for the AFP to comment further at this time,’’ a spokesman said.
Mr Summers said the ship’s owners had flown private security guards and company representatives to the ship by helicopter from Brisbane.
Until then, most of the 21-man crew had apparently been ‘‘holed up in a cabin, fearing for their safety’’.
Mr Summers said the ship had ‘‘done a search pattern’’ to look for the missing seaman and alerted the Australian authorities when it couldn’t find him.
‘‘It’s been suggested to us that the man met his death through foul play because he was going to come to us with an allegation of poor pay and conditions on the ship,’’ Mr Summers said.
‘‘We don’t know for sure, but that’s what we were told early on.’’
The federation is an internationally recognised trade union body that fights for seafarers’ rights and which works to expose so-called ‘‘ships of shame’’.
Mr Summers said the Sage Sagittarius was a ‘‘flag of convenience’’ vessel registered in Panama and owned by Japanese interests.
It was a regular visitor to Newcastle.
Newcastle Port Corporation shipping movements were last night still showing it as docking at the Kooragang Number 6 berth next Thursday.
It was to take a load of coal from Port Waratah Coal Services and depart the following day.
Mr Summers said the federation was investigating the situation through its London office.
Although the ship, which was built in 2001, had an agreement with the federation to pay its crews at least the minimum standard of about $1350 a month, it appeared there had been problems on board.
With the Newcastle Herald