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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

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A Ship’s Captain Killed By About 30 Stab Wounds

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An argument on board the cargo ship Meghna Liberty between the Captain and the Chef, both Filipinos, degenerated into a bloody fight, while the ship was in the territorial waters of Mauritius on Sunday 21 November. In a fit of anger, the cook hit his captain, Rolly Baquillos Solante, 44 years old, with about thirty stab wounds to the neck and abdomen. The suspect, Alfred Kenneth Calopez, 33 years old, confessed to the crime and was brought before the Port-Louis court this Tuesday morning, November 23, on a provisional charge of murder.  He was kept in a cell at the Alcatraz detention centre in the Central Barracks.

It was on the evening of Sunday 21 November that this drama took place on the high seas in the exclusive economic zone of Mauritius. The ship Meghna Liberté, which left Cape Town, South Africa, was en route to India with a crew of twenty. All were from the Philippines. A violent altercation took place between the captain and his cook. According to the information available to the investigators of the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of the Port, led by Inspector Tajoo, this was yet another argument. The captain reproached the chef for his behavior.

Excited by the repeated reproaches of his captain, the cook Alfred Kenneth Calopez, then grabbed a kitchen knife before striking him several times in the neck and abdomen. The death of Rolly Baquillos Solante was almost instantaneous. The chief officer had to inform Scott Shipping, the local agent of the vessel, of this incident. With the help of the other crew members, the suspect was subdued and tied up.  Instructions were given for the vessel to set course for Mauritius and it was around 0130 on the morning of Monday 22 November that Meghna Liberty docked with the Oil Jetty in the Port.

After having received the approval of the health service, police officers from the CID of the Port boarded the ship with forensic technicians. They examined the crime scene and collected evidence. The suspect allegedly threw the murder weapon into the sea after stabbing the victim.

The body of the victim was transported to the morgue of the Victoria Hospital, Candos for an autopsy. This was performed in the early evening of Tuesday, November 23 by Dr. Sudesh Kumar Gungadin, Principal Police Medical Officer, who attributed the death to a “stabbed wound to the neck and chest.” Rolly Baquillos Solante sustained no less than thirty stab wounds.

Before the suspect was taken into custody, he was taken to the Dr. A.G. Jeetoo Hospital, Port-Louis for a Covid-19 antigen test. The test was negative.

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