Two years after the bosun aboard an MSC containership was murdered by a fellow seafarer, the AB who committed the crime has been sentenced by a U.S. District Court in California to 20 years in U.S. federal prison. The judge sentencing Michael Dequito Monegro, age 44 and a resident of the Philippines, said Monegro’s “conduct was unusually heinous, cruel and brutal.”
Monegro was working as a seaman aboard the MSC Ravenna, a 153,000-gross-ton Liberian-flagged containership. The vessel was approximately 80 nautical miles from Southern California and nearing the end of its two-week voyage from Shanghai to the Port of Los Angeles when the incident took place. Federal agents arrested Monegro after the ship docked at the Port of Los Angeles and he pleaded guilty in May 2022 to one count of committing an act of violence against a person onboard a ship that is likely to endanger the safe navigation of the ship.
“The tragic impact of the defendant’s conduct cannot be overstated,” prosecutors argued in a sentencing memorandum. “[Monegro’s] murder of M.S. left behind M.S.’s wife and daughter, who was 17 at the time of the murder. M.S. was the sole breadwinner for the family, and his death caused significant financial strain on the family.” Prosecutors told the court that other crewmembers were traumatized by witnessing Monegro stab and kill the victim. The maximum sentence for the crime was life in prison plus restitution to the family.
Investigators pieced together the events that took place on September 20, 2020, aboard the MSC Ravenna. After being given the daily work assignments, Monegro confronted the bosun in a hallway and began stabbing him with a knife while they were in full view of several crewmembers. The victim grappled with Monegro, causing defensive wounds on his hands and they fell to the deck where Monegro then got on top of the victim and continued stabbing him. Monegro took a second knife from the victim’s coveralls and stabbed him with both knives. Monegro later told investigators that he stopped stabbing the victim only when he became too tired to continue. The bosun, only identified as “M.S.” in the court papers, was stabbed a total of 31 times and died from multiple stab wounds.
Other crewmembers attempted to intervene to stop Monegro, including throwing a trash can at him, but their actions were unsuccessful. The ship’s captain, chief mate, and chief engineer all arrived on the scene and it was the captain that convinced Monegro to get off the victim and later to put down the knives. Monegro was confined to a cabin and crewmembers were assigned to guard the door for the remainder of the voyage.
Two witnesses told the FBI Special Agent investigating that they heard Monegro say, “You are the one that destroyed my family.” According to a crewmember who witnessed the assault, the victim spoke about a crew change for the ship before Monegro assaulted him.