A double murder took place in the River Plate aboard a tanker with an Argentine crew and flying the Maltese flag of convenience, it was revealed last weekend.
"Last night [October 22] personnel of the Centro de Control de Tráfico Río de La Plata received a communication via VHF, in which an unidentified person informed that he killed two people aboard the tanker 'Ayane," indicated the Coast Guard in a statement.
A 52-year-old crewman shot dead the captain and first mate of the vessel, anchored eight kilometres off the shore, and then called the Coast Guard to give himself up.
"The captain and the first mate are dead. I killed them and I’m going to give myself up so I want the Coast Guards to come along and arrest me, it’s as simple as that," communicated the man from the boat around midnight, as divulged by the Buenos Aires-based television news channel A24.
"We have two crew members killed by a crewmate with firearms and we need help urgently," said a second communication sent by another man on board.
The fatal victims were the captain Alejandro Daniel García, 39, and first mate Juan Alfonso Pegasano, 48. Their presumed killer gave himself up to the Coast Guard patrol boat Cabo Corrientes, which sped to the scene and is under arrest, according to a court source.
The causes of the incident, which is being investigated by Judge Ernesto Kreplak of La Plata Federal Court No. 3, remain unknown.
"For now we only know that there were two murders deriving from a presumed psychotic outbreak by the presumed author of the gunshots," said a court source quoted by the newspaper Clarín.
On Monday, the sailor who shot dead his captain and first mate off the coast of Ensenada testified before the courts. Although he did not identify himself when communicating with the Coast Guard and confessing to the double murder, he has since been named as Carlos Lima, 52.
The testimony of other witnesses is to be heard and forensic tests have already been made aboard the tanker with more to follow.
Further details later emerged. It seems that the crew member who called for help succeeded in overpowering the assailant after he had thrown the murder weapon into the water with the Coast Guard boat arriving almost immediately afterwards.