A RUSSIAN sea captain may have hanged himself in his cargo ship cabin at Sharpness Docks because he feared sailing home in “horrendous” storms, a coroner said today.
Alexandera Budishchev, 53, from St Petersburg, and his crew of 11, had endured a nightmare voyage across the Atlantic to Sharpness docks, Gloucestershire, at New Year, an inquest was told.
They docked on New Years' Day and were waiting for their cargo to be unloaded on January 6 but the morning before the skipper was found dead in the shower area of his cabin with a rope around his neck and over the door.
He left no note and there was no known motive for him to kill himself except that he had been unhappy about the voyage and was concerned about the return journey, the inquest was told.
"They had obviously come through some horrendous weather to come to Sharpness at that date," said acting Gloucestershire coroner David Dooley.
"After removal of their cargo they were then to sail into the teeth of the expected storms and we can only assume that was the cause of his concern and trepidation.
"He was said to be upset at the prospect of setting sail again."
However the coroner said he could not be absolutely certain about the captain's intentions so had to record an open conclusion, rather than suicide.
It was possible, he said, that Captain Budishchev did not intend to kill himself at all and was “experimenting” with the rope, which was looped three times around his neck but not knotted.
The captain was wearing a neckerchief under the rope, which may have indicated he did not intend it to kill him, added the coroner.
The inquest heard that the skipper was captain of the cargo ship 'Baltiyskiy 109', to which police were called on January 5 when chief mate Vladimir Revnikov found him
"The captain was slumped against the open shower room door," said Dursley Pc Simon Greenfield.
"He was clearly deceased. He had a length of blue rope around his neck. It went over the door and was tied to the handle. It was taut.
“The chief mate told me he had last spoken to him at 6pm the night before. At 8.45am he had knocked the door to speak to him but got no reply so he used a master key to get in."
Pathologist Dr Linmarie Ludeman said death was due to compression of the neck by the ligature. There was no trace of alcohol or drugs in his body.