A Filipino crew member has been sentenced to 20 years in prison by a US judge after a brutal attack on a colleague.

Michael Dequito Monegro, 44, stabbed a fellow seafarer to death on the 14,000-teu MSC Ravenna (built 2011) off Los Angeles in September 2020.

The vessel, owned by Germany’s CP Offen and chartered to Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC), was en route from Shanghai at the time.

US District Judge Dale S Fischer called the attack “unusually heinous, cruel and brutal”.

Monegro had pleaded guilty on 2 May to one count of committing an act of violence against a person on a ship that is likely to endanger the safe navigation of the ship.

On the morning of the incident, several crew members were in a dressing room on the ship’s upper deck, preparing for their shift and waiting for their direct supervisor to provide their work assignments for the day, the US department of justice said.

“Shortly after, Monegro saw his direct supervisor — identified in court documents as ‘MS’ — in the hallway outside the locker room.

He began stabbing the supervisor with a knife while they were both in the hallway in full view of several others.

The victim grappled with Monegro and the two fell to the floor.

Monegro then got on top of the victim and continued stabbing him. Monegro then removed a second knife from the MS’s coveralls and stabbed him with both knives.

Colleagues tried to help

Colleagues tried to intervene to stop Monegro, including throwing a rubbish bin at him, but to no avail.

Monegro only stopped stabbing the victim only when he became too tired to continue.

A total of 31 wounds were later found on the body.

The ship’s captain, chief mate and chief engineer all arrived at the scene during the incident, and the captain convinced Monegro to get off the victim, who died on the ship from multiple stab wounds.

Monegro was convinced by the captain to walk to a conference room. After continued discussions, he placed the knives on the conference room table and was escorted to his cabin.

He was confined there, and seafarers were assigned to guard the door, so they were unable to perform their normal duties on the ship.

Other crew members were traumatised by witnessing the attack.

Federal agents arrested Monegro after the ship docked at the Port of Los Angeles on 27 September.

“The tragic impact of the defendant’s conduct cannot be overstated,” prosecutors argued in a sentencing memorandum. “[Monegro’s] murder of MS left behind MS’s wife and daughter, who was 17 at the time of the murder.”

The statement added: “MS was the sole breadwinner for the family, and his death caused significant financial strain on the family.”