Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Around the Arctic September 24, 2012 - 1:11 pm

Umiavut crew member’s sudden death upgraded to homicide

Man identified as 30-year-old François Hébert of Quebec City

DAVID MURPHY

The sudden death of a man onboard a Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping Ltd. cargo vessel, the MV Umiavut, is now the subject of a homicide investigation.

Crew members found the 30-year-old man’s body in his cabin after he failed to report for duty on the morning of Sept. 16.

A coroner confirmed the identity of the man to be François Hébert of Quebec City on Sept. 21.

“We were on there doing the sudden death investigation, we had the body sent to St. Johns for an autopsy, and the office of the chief medical examiner confirmed it was a homicide,” said Marc Coulombe, a Newfoundland and Labrador RCMP media relations officer.

Police would not release the cause of death due to the ongoing investigation. The RCMP Major Crimes Unit West out of Corner Brook, NL, is carrying out the investigation.

Coulombe said interviews with the 21-crew members aboard the MV Umiavut are still continuing.

It was only until after the ship set sail on its scheduled route that the death of the man was determined to be a homicide. 

“We had no reason at the time to detain the vessel or the crew,” said Coulombe. “We let them continue on their voyage,” Coulombe said, adding his crew is “done with the scene (ship)” at this point.

The Umiavut is still set to land in Pangnirtung Oct. 3, Iqaluit Oct. 5 and Sanikiluaq Oct. 13, and finishing its season in Inujivik according to NEAS’s sailing schedule.

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