Charity raises concerns over missing seafarer as investigation continues

Missing seafarer junior 3rd officer Cristito M. Acosta. Credit: HRAS

The Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) published case study has revealed the identity of the missing seafarer, junior third officer Cristito M. Acosta, who disappeared off a Teekay Shipping vessel on 23 April 2020.

Acosta joined the Bahamian flagged Jialong Spirit on 22 February in New Orleans, US, and was two months in a six-month contract when he disappeared. An investigation into the disappearance, carried out by Teekay Shipping, is still ongoing.

The tanker was 155 nautical miles off the Dominican Republic on route to South Africa, after completing ship operations in Florida, US, when Acosta did not show up to his bridge duties and was reported missing.

“We are aware of the start of an investigation correctly instigated by Teekay, and we trust that the eventual findings will be made public with minimal redaction, both for the family’s sake and in the public interest. We have also raised the issue of transparency with Teekay and fairly acknowledge their swift engagement,” said David Hammond, CEO, HRAS.

The Philippine national was on his third contract with Teekay Shipping, starting as a deck cadet in June 2017. HRAS has been in contact with the family of the missing seafarer, who fear he is still onboard the vessel.

“We have listened to the family’s concerns that Mr. Acosta may still be onboard the Vessel and held against his will. In light of their concerns, we are committed to a thorough and fully transparent investigation of the matter. We have appointed a forensic consultant to attend the vessel at her first port of call and conduct an investigation. We have also invited both the Flag State of the Vessel and the Philippines Embassy to send a representative to join the investigation,” said a representative from Teekay Shipping.