Worldwide Dive and Sail was born in 2003 on a simple premise; build diving liveaboard boats that provide the service that we, as divers, crave. As the years have gone by we have grown beyond the wildest dreams we had in those early days, but the focus has always remained the same – the guest.
Over the years we have built a team across the globe that we are incredibly proud of and we have shared some amazing times. Sadly, as this week, we have also shared some incredibly difficult times. In response to one of our posts on Facebook about the loss of Fiji Siren, someone posted “anyone can ‘sail a boat in calm waters’. It’s when things get rough that true skills and professionalism shine through”. Our team; on Fiji Siren, on the ground in Fiji, and at head office in Phuket have been the very epitome of this phrase and we cannot thank them enough.
At times like these, especially in this era of social media and instant gratification, people have a craving for information and are led to speculate on current events and past history. Often, fact gets mixed up with fiction and rumour becomes reality. Having seen this happening, especially on social media, as owners we feel that we should address the issue head on.
There are those out there who are insinuating that because we are not openly stating the cause of the sinking that we are hiding something. This is not the case and when we know for sure what happened we will be open about it, as we have been in the past. Until then, however, we can only pass along information that we know to be 100% true. To do otherwise would be irresponsible. More will surely follow on this in the fullness of time.
Also, not for the first time, there are comments from people who are openly saying that the incident was intentional so that we could claim on insurance. It’s very difficult to describe not just how hurtful this is, but also how offensive. There were 16 guests and 13 crew aboard Fiji Siren on the night of 14th of November and we are incredulous that anyone would consider that we might put even one of those souls at risk, in the dark and while they were sleeping, just for an insurance claim. Even had the boat been empty and in port, people seem to forget that insurance claims are not guaranteed to be paid. This is something that we can attest to personally.
Then there is our history. It’s no secret that Fiji Siren is not the first Siren that we have lost. We have never, and do not plan to, hide from the past. The expression ‘those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it’ is so very true and should always be kept in mind. In the interests of keeping this message of a reasonable length we will not go into everything here, rather, anyone who is interested can read more here
We know it’s not an easy record to defend, but defend it we will. We know that all of our crews in these incidents have behaved excellently, that they followed procedure, that they put the customer’s safety first. There is no member of crew involved in any of our losses that we would not employ again, and of course that includes Fiji Siren. We are incredibly proud of them and will stand by them always! We know that our safety protocol is among the best in the business and anyone who has travelled with us will know this. We carry out muster drills on every cruise and make sure that people not only know where their life jacket is, but also make sure they know how to use it. We carry out fire drills, man overboard drills, hull breach drills on our vessels during cruises; with customers around to see it, and they state repeatedly that this is the first time they’ve seen this on a liveaboard vessel. Yes, we have had our problems, but we learn and we remember.
While we are down at heart right now, we will continue. We will do so because we are passionate about what we do. We believe in our product, we believe in our team, and we believe that together we can provide our guests with the most inspirational experiences.
Frank and Mark
Following on from the sad news yesterday of the loss of the Fiji Siren, we wanted to give a little more information that has come our way at this early stage that we know for sure.
Firstly, almost all guests have departed for home and the crew is now back among friends and family, though there is still more work to do on the ground.
Regarding the incident, it seems that around 1am in the morning there was an impact on the vessel that caused a breach in the area of the engine room while cruising. Crew members immediately dived under the vessel and applied pre-mix epoxy in an attempt to try to stem the flow and all water pumps were activated (two main pumps and two portable pumps with a combined capacity of close to 4,000 litres or 4 tonnes per minute) to remove water from the vessel. At this point Fiji Siren headed towards land and placed emergency calls on channels 16 & 72 which to our understanding were, unfortunately, not answered.
By 2am it was clear that not enough water was being cleared by the pumps and so it was decided to call guests to muster in life jackets with only their passports and any medication that they might require. They were then evacuated to land with the diving skiffs along with non-essential crew where shelter was provided. Some of the remaining crew then went to work removing as much of the guest’s property as possible, as well as their own items, boat and crew documentation, and tender fuel. Other crew members were, of course, still trying to save the boat.
By 5.30am the main water pump had failed due to loss of power caused by the water in the engine room, however, the fire pumps were still running at full power with additional fuel being brought for them by Namena Divers, so great thanks to those guys for helping in the operation. There were multiple dives carried out to try and stem the breach further, which were sadly unsuccessful, and by 7:15 it was decided to remove all crew except the captain and cruise director.
Shortly after, it became inevitable that the Fiji Siren was lost and so the evacuation was completed and she sank below the surface at some time around 10am.
There is much sadness both in Fiji and at Worldwide Dive and Sail head office in Phuket, but there is still work to do. We are now focusing on the mammoth task of re-organising our future guest’s holidays and making sure that operations across our fleets around the globe continue smoothly. As stated yesterday, if you are due to travel aboard the Fiji Siren then our team will be contacting you shortly, if they have not done so already. We would be very grateful for your patience as we are prioritising immediate upcoming trips. However, if you have urgent questions about your booking then please email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are very sad to announce that during her current cruise Fiji Siren has been lost and we are currently conducting a full and thorough investigation.
Most importantly, all guest and crew are safe and well with arrangements being made for our guests to begin their journey home. No guest or crew member was injured during this incident and we commend the actions of our team for following our stringent emergency training protocols which resulted in the swift evacuation and handling of the situation.
As our loyal, repeat customers know, Worldwide Dive and Sail customer and crew safety is our highest priority. We have consistently refined our safety standards and procedures to deal with any emergency situation and it is a testament to these high standards, that include weekly emergency training, drills and on board state of the art safety equipment, that this unfortunate event was managed so well.
The team at Worldwide Dive and Sail are already looking at options for customers currently booked with the Fiji Siren. If you are due to travel aboard the Fiji Siren our team will be contacting you shortly. We would be very grateful for your patience as we are prioritising immediate upcoming trips. However, if you have urgent questions about your booking then please email email@example.com
We thank you for your support and understanding and remain grateful that this situation was not of a more serious nature.