Crew quizzed on disappearance

SUNSHINE Coast police say there are no suspicious circumstances in the disappearance of a 62-year-old Korean sailor, who is believed to have drowned.

Water police and Sunshine Coast property squad detectives boarded the 280 metre fully loaded coal vessel Ocean Caesar about 7.30am yesterday after it was ordered to berth at the pilot boarding ground, eight kilometers off the Kawana coast.

The 62-year-old master of the Ocean Caesar is believed to have fallen off the bulk carrier about 180km north-east of Bundaberg about 3pm on Saturday.

Search teams spent more than 36 hours scouring the water.

An Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokeswoman said the search was called off after advice it was not possible for the man to have survived.

The Japanese vessel and its Korean/Filipino crew of 21 had been on the water since March 13.

It was on its way to South Africa after collecting a load of coal at the Port of Hay Point, near Mackay.

Sunshine Coast water police Senior Constable Mark Muddiman said police have now ruled out foul play in relation to the  disappearance.

He said police interviewed the non-English speaking crew for six hours with the help of translators.

The Ocean Caesar left the pilot boarding ground about 1.30pm yesterday and is now on its journey again to South Africa.



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