Seafarer’s family demands second postmortem

MARGAO: With dreams in his eyes and hopes in his heart, Cenito Vaz from Aquem-Baixo, Navelim, had set for the high seas to work as a sailor in early November. Less than a month later, the body of the 19-year-old lad will be brought to Goa on Sunday, as his employers claimed that he committed suicide on the ship.

Family members, however, do not believe the company's version and suspect foul play. They have demanded a second postmortem to ascertain the cause of death.

Vaz was sailing as a saloon trainee on board Mumbai-based MV Sakura Glory Anglo Eastern Ship management company, family sources said.

"The company informed us that Cenito was found hanging in the provision space with a cloth around his neck. Ship staff members had to cut the cloth piece to free and lower him down. He did not respond to the first aid, it was informed," sources close to the Vaz family told STOI.

The Vaz family suspects the case to be either murder or some fatal accident during work leading to Cenito's death.

"It is unlikely that Cenito could have chosen to end his life, as he seemed to be in a joyous mood while leaving home to work as a seaman last month. He joined the company on November 11, and the incident occurred on November 18. The company claims that the postmortem was conducted in Panama, and that the report is awaited," said Leslie Coutinho, Cenito's brother-in-law.

Sources said Navelim MLA Avertano Furtado has promised to facilitate the second postmortem and give justice to the bereaved family.

Secretary of the Goan Seamen Association, Michael Beny D'Costa, said the case goes to indicate the "atrocities and mental harassment" meted out to seafarers. He has strongly advocated the setting up of a separate cell for seafarers by the state government to redress their grievances. "There are more than 20,000 Goan seafarers working on the seas. They are forced to bear all harassments in silence for fear of losing their jobs," D'Costa claimed. [TOI]