The slaying of a senior steward aboard a Saudi Arabian freighter now docked in Baltimore may have stemmed from a feud between the ship's British officers and the mainly Filipino crew, according to a published report yesterday.

The Baltimore Sun, quoting unidentified sources, said some of the 51 crew members were being given polygraph examinations and a relief crew may be flown in to relieve some of the original crew members who will remain in Baltimore as the investigation continues.

The Saudi Makkah was being detained at Port Covington while authorities continue to investigate Thursday's slaying of Pablito C. Jusay, 45. Jusay's body, which was bound hand and foot, was found hanging by a rope in a linen closet on the ship's second deck.

Jusay apparently was killed as the vessel sailed from Newport News, Va., to Baltimore Thursday morning. He was found fully clothed, and his sleeping quarters and office appeared to be in order, Baltimore police said.

"We've never run into this kind of thing before," said Robin Pelljohann, a spokesman for Hapag-Lloyd, the agent for the idled container ship. "At this point, we don't look for her to sail until at least Sunday."

An unidentified source told the newspaper that the slaying occurred during a feud between officers and the crew.

Dennis Hill, Baltimore police spokesman, said detectives were continuing to question crew members, with a crew member acting as translator.

A member of the Philippines consulate was on hand, as well as an attorney representing the British officers.