Sten Johansson Sten has the viking wanderlust coursing through his veins. He roams the world in search of new places and seas to discover. For a time he wandered around the Mediterranean and Caribbean isles on a big ship, initiating new divers to the wonders of the underwater environment. He embarked on a sixteen-day voyage to reach the island that time forgot, which he did twice more afterwards.

He enjoys journeying to wild places where he can witness the power of nature in a harsh environment, and how human nature reacts to its environment.
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Maria Patricia steaming off

License to Kill

Lost divers in Malpelo.

You have the right to kill… as long as you are in the arms of the Colombian authorities.

We arrived as usual after a very windy and bumpy sea crossing from Puerto Mutis, Panama to Malpelo, Colombia.

As usual, we tied up on the mooring at Altar de Virginia, a dive site on the northeast side of Malpelo that provides shelter from the wind (when it blows in the right direction). Weather had calmed down and conditions looked good, just a bit murky in the water.

As it was bumpy on the way in, we had decided to postpone setting up the dive gear and I had yet to give a briefing on how to dive Malpelo. (For those of you who don’t know Malpelo, it is a serious dive destination—the briefing needs to be clear and the divers, attentive.) Just when I was on my way to gather our guests for the briefing, a guest asked me, “Who is that in the water?” Our skiff was also out there, so at first I thought it was Juan, my colleague, checking the dive site and the visibility. It was not Juan. It was Peter Morse, a lost diver from the Colombian dive boat Maria Patricia. Lost since around 4:30 pm the day before, and it was about 7:30 am when we spotted him…

As soon as we got him onboard, we alerted the navy and the person in charge of the marine park of Malpelo. (Update: 24 September 2016 – Recorded testimony of Peter Morse provided below.)

The interesting part is that when our captain, as per procedure, reported in to the park ranger and the navy guys stationed on the island, they said they were busy. There were about 6 of them on the island at the time the captain called, and they didn’t mention anything about lost divers. However, when we informed them about the diver that we found in the water, we suddenly got the news that 5 divers were missing.

They knew we were coming because they had a copy of the schedule of the boats’ rotation in the park. Using my common sense as a seaman and diver, if they knew that we would turn up at dawn, why did they not call us at least 5-7 hours earlier as soon as they could establish radio contact? Or even before that, through our satellite phone, to tell us to keep our eyes open in case the divers had a flashlight? In my world it is common sense. I think they never raised the alarm because they were hoping to find them before they needed to do so. This is my personal opinion.

Maria Patricia's dive skiff used to look for lost divers

Maria Patricia‘s single 15-hp outboard engine.
Yemayá‘s dive skiffs have twin 140-hp engines. What do they do when the engine breaks down??

According to Peter, they did not have any lights or Nautilus Lifelines with them on the dive. The captain of Maria Patricia, on the other hand, said they had them onboard, but the divers never brought them on any of their dives… Why not??

They started the dive late. The captain of Maria Patricia said it was all a rush; they entered the water around 4 pm. They dove outside of the main island of Malpelo, at Three Musketeers, specifically by Cathedral, a swim-through cavern. According to the captain, the current was strong and the leading southeast wind was also strong at the time. Their skiff was a 4-meter inflatable dinghy with a 15-hp single outboard engine.

Here come the first mistakes: The dive guide was supposed to be very experienced, if we were to believe the captain. He was not. (He is dead today and I feel bad to say that.) He was known to other Colombian guides as inexperienced. He should have cancelled the dive and chosen a safer dive site, especially since it was the last dive of the trip. But the worse thing is, and I say this given my vast experience in Eastern Pacific diving, the skiff driver was waiting for the divers in an area where he would least expect to find them surfacing. On top of that Maria Patricia was just in front of Three Musketeers, to the north of Malpelo, and any responsible captain or crew member would have kept an eye out for the divers on the last dive, in hard weather conditions. Obviously, they did not.

Peter was diving with the others, including the guide, with sausages up, drift diving in the blue at a depth of about 10 meters. This is common in Malpelo when you have a good skiff driver and a good spotter.

When they surfaced they could hardly see the skiff, so they started to swim towards the island. This is where they got separated. Peter managed to get to the island after about 3 hours of swimming hard and ditching his dive tank. The rest got separated. Carlos, the guide, would have made it for sure, but sacrificed his life for the Colombian woman and stayed with her, I believe.

Maria Patricia's other (non-working?) dive skiff that can't look for lost divers

Maria Patricia‘s other (non-working?) dive skiff.
As you can see, there is no engine on this one. And I only saw two skiffs, not three. How did they manage to launch three separate dive groups when they only had one working skiff??

3-4 hours later, when Peter was just a few hundred meters away from Maria Patricia, the boat released the mooring and headed out to Three Musketeers, then turned east. They never saw him. He swam to the ramp, where there was a rope ladder to climb on to get to the navy station on the island, but it was drawn up. He tried to get on to the rocks, but got shredded by the barnacles. He swam back to the mooring place of Maria Patricia, but there was no boat; so back to the ramp. A big wave came in and washed him up on the rocks, where he managed to hold on and wait until our rescue. He commented, “It was like they did not care, like they were not looking for us!”

The Captain told me he sent out 3 skiffs to look for the divers. (Note: The “biggest” skiff was the 4-meter one with the 15-hp engine…) If that was the case, then Peter should have been found. But he never saw any skiffs looking for him. So I had the captain lying to my face… I had a lying park ranger telling me they sounded the alarm the moment they lost them. So why did they never seek our help until we rescued the first diver?

Day 1: Organizing a search and rescue

We took the initiative to cancel our diving, which our guests saw as the right thing to do. Together with the captain and using my experience in searching for lost people at sea, we started a search pattern. We did it from around 8 am until dark; we stopped when darkness set in as according to Peter, no one had a light.

If I remember right, we had a plane searching overhead in the late afternoon, but far too close to Malpelo. Why were they not here first thing in the morning if the alert was done in the afternoon the day before? Where was the navy? Malpelo is almost 300 nautical miles from Colombia. If the alarm was raised, why did we not see them until more than 40 hours after the call was sounded?

That evening the captain and I went to visit the captain of Maria Patricia. We saw them coming back in the afternoon and tying up by their mooring, but they did not participate in the full-day search for their own lost divers because they didn’t have enough fuel to continue the search. It was during that particular visit when I got all the information on all the lies they were giving us.

Day 2: Finding two other divers

We received the news that the navy and planes were on their way, so we started to do what we came to Malpelo for: to dive. The Colombian Air Force, US Coast Guard and private planes financed by families and divers in Colombia would be conducting the search and rescue operation, so I thought Good, now it’s in the hands of the professionals, although still wondering Where THE F@CK were you yesterday when it mattered?! Each minute, each hour, it got more difficult to find them. But I was glad that it was now in the hands of the pros.

We had a good check-out dive, with lots of animals. When we got back on the mother boat, the captain informed us that the marine park was closed and that we were forced to participate in the search and rescue.

So we did. On our boat we are real sailors and hardcore divers. Our guests had a lot of patience and everyone pitched in to help. Kudos to everyone.

Yemaya giving Maria Patricia fuel so they can look for the lost divers

Yemayá giving Maria Patricia fuel.
You go to a remote place that is 30+ hours away, and you bring fuel just enough for getting there and back??

Even if I felt we already did our part and our time was done, suddenly we were part of the team, together with two navy boats, the US Coast Guard, Maria Patriciato whom we gave 1,000 GALLONS OF FUEL, OIL AND WATER BECAUSE THEY WERE OUT— and numerous planes buzzing around. We would never see this paid back, but we continued on for humane reasons. And honestly, we were on boat arrest by the Colombian Navy and had no choice. Either we cooperated or they would board our boat and take over.

Just before it got dark the US Coast Guard plane spotted two live divers in the water. They survived two nights and a day at sea. The plane dispatched an inflatable life raft; the navy and our boat reached them more or less at the same time. They were brought onboard the navy boat.

Day 3: Finding the sausage of the Colombian woman… No-brainer or no brain?

We knew we should be in the area where the other two lost divers were found. Three days into the search, the Colombian woman’s sausage (as confirmed by fellow divers at the time) was found. But no diver. This should have been the time for the navy to use their brain and us experienced divers. If the sausage was found without a reel attached to it, the person who lost it would be upwind and up current, because your sausage would always travel ahead of you unless there was extreme current.

Yemaya and Maria Patricia side by side, transferring fuel for the search and rescue of lost divers

Yemayá and Maria Patricia: Size matters.
On this trip they had 13 divers, but they can take up to 30 divers. We had 14, but can accommodate up to 16 divers.

This is a fact. But the Colombian Navy kept on with the search pattern planned for the day before. They did not listen and they did not make any adjustments based on recent events and information that came in. We continued to search blindfolded.

I KNEW where to search. I wasn’t sure I would find them, but there was a much bigger chance to find them alive by listening to us old, experienced divers.

This was not the first time I had to do search and recovery in other operations. I have been guiding for 20 years now, with close to 10,000 dives. Thanks to the Creator I have not yet lost a diver.

Yemaya and Maria Patricia - a comparison, during the search and rescue of lost divers

You can judge a boat by its cover (of rust).
Yemayá is not a luxurious boat by any means. But next to Maria Patricia, she looks almost brand-new.

But this is the worst example of how to run a dive operation close to 300 nautical miles away from Colombia. Sailing to a remote location with just enough fuel to reach the destination and then return to port is beyond stupid. (Aside: In exchange for 1,000 gallons of fuel, we received one bottle of wine, 3 cans of tuna, and a jar of peanuts. We heard they were running low on food; but they didn’t seem to be too worried, because they fished and caught their food inside the marine park!!!)

Shame on you all, I despise your lack of respect for human life. You want to kick out the only boat that has at least some kind of safety measures. How dare the Colombian authorities let a boat like Maria Patricia even leave port? And they are mandating Yemayá and Inula to operate from Buenaventura— known to be the slaughterhouse capital of Colombia, for which most countries have issued a travel ban because it is too dangerous for tourists— just so both operations would be forced to shut down and the Colombian boats could get more bookings.

Shame on Malpelo National Park. Shame on the Colombian Navy. Shame on Maria Patricia, who has repeatedly risked the lives of their guests onboard. (Should we tell you about the time when they forgot to pick up a French couple from their dive and only realized it hours later, when they were already having dinner?)

Maria Patricia steaming off

Maria Patricia steaming off into the sunset.
All’s well that gets fuel. At the end of the day, you’ll be the hero.

The captain of Maria Patricia is now considered a hero in Colombia. The simple-mindedness of the Colombian government was demonstrated in a recent meeting among boat operators and the Park. Everyone was hugging and congratulating him during the meeting. And his fellow Colombians passed the hat around so that THEY could reimburse us for the fuel that we transferred to his boat during the search and rescue operation.

I have once been a victim, lost at sea outside the coast of Nicaragua. And I know the feeling when your boat disappears beyond the horizon. I was lucky at the time.

I pray with the families of Erika Vanessa and Carlos.

Yemayá is your option to go diving with if you want to see Malpelo. This is the only boat that has safety measures and experienced guides I trust.

The Colombian government will kick Yemayá out after 2017, during which time you can go with Maria Patricia, which has the license to kill their guests, and get away with it.

I am so upset and disgusted by this. It did not need to happen.

I stand by my words. I was there, I tell only the truth.

Sten Johansson
Dive guide and a human being

Update: 24 September 2016 – Here is the testimony of Peter Morse, recorded on 1 September 2016, the day we found him.

57 comments

Hola Sten.
Soy Oficial de la Armada de Colombia, comparto contigo muchas cosas, lastimosamente en este país tienen que suceder este tipo de accidentes lamentables para que la población en general tome consciencia sobre su seguridad y para que las autoridades empiecen a regular aspectos que no se han tenido en cuenta.
Pero me parece que has hecho unas afirmaciones bastante irresponsables:
1. El Oficial de la Armada que se encontraba en Malpelo no tiene acceso a las embarcaciones que van a realizar transito, mucho menos a los horarios de llegada, porque el tramite de los permisos de zarpe se realiza a las Capitanías de Puerto y son las Capitanías de Puerto quienes monitoran las posiciones o ubicaciones de las motonaves. Entiendo que por desconocimiento asumas que el la tenia, pero te corrijo, no lo hacia.
2. Cuando afirmas que hubo negligencia por parte de la Autoridad a la hora de realizar los patrones de búsqueda, que debieron seguir tus consejos o intuiciones te confirmo lo siguiente, el cuerpo de guardacostas y la fuerza aérea tiene un software especial de búsqueda que a través de unos algoritmos, analiza los comportamientos de la marea, corriente, vientos, direcciones e intensidad de los vientos, peso, y volumen del objeto o cuerpo que se encuentra perdido, flotabilidad, temperatura del agua, entre otros factores, que le arroja el patron de búsqueda adecuado, en el que por cierto lograron encontrar a dos de los buzos perdidos.
3. La afirmación mas irresponsable, es que iniciaron la búsqueda, porque sino las autoridades colombianas abordarían a la fuerza la embarcación, es una total mentira. Para ello se dirigieron buques, el uso de la fuerza no puede ser usado para estos casos, y realizar ese tipo de actividad podría tipificarse como un secuestro.

Entiendo tu punto de vista y comprendo el porque de tus conclusiones, todos lo hacemos, si bien hay mucho que mejorar, muchas cosas por reglamentar, pero te agradecería que no hagas afirmaciones irresponsables.

Sten, I congratulate you on your writings. You have provided a service to the scuba diving world by exposing this operator as well as the Columbian system; the writings here speak for themselves. BUT what is truly incredible is the reaction of some of the Columbian “professionals” or divers. It seems almost that they feel personally attacked or their pride has been hurt. Rather then taking action to try to make the system a better one or instead of helping this operator to make his operation safer they throw dirt at you. And they do so while claiming to be sad about the lost lives. The truth is: these misguided “professionals” think only about themselves and their misguided pride. A pride (or foolishness) that has cost lives and will cost lives again. How can anybody defend a dive operation that does not provide working radios to their skiffs or twin engine set ups? I feel that your writings are not intended to hurt anybody but to create awareness so that operators and the authorities better their procedures. And as such I congratulate you, well done! Greetings from Germany.

Sten, te felicito por tus escritos. Usted ha proporcionado un servicio al mundo del buceo al exponer este operador, así como el sistema colombiano; Los escritos aquí hablan por sí mismos. PERO lo que es realmente increible es la reacción de algunos de los “profesionales” colombianos o bucos. Parece que casi se sienten atacados personalmente o su orgullo ha sido herido. En lugar de tomar medidas para tratar de hacer el sistema mejor o en lugar de ayudar a este operador para hacer su operación más segura attacan a ti. Y lo hacen mientras reclaman estar tristes por las vidas perdidas. La verdad es que estos “profesionales” sólo piensan en sí mismos y en su orgullo equivocado. Un orgullo (o tontería) que ha costado vidas y costará vidas de nuevo. ¿Cómo puede alguien defender una operación de buceo que no proporciona radios VHF a sus skiffs o dos motores de configuración? Siento yo que tus escritos no tienen la intención de hacer daño a nadie sino de crear conciencia para que los operadores y las autoridades mejoren sus procedimientos. Y como tal te felicito, bien hecho! Saludos desde Alemania.

Jesus, just look at this pile of crap of a boat called Maria Patricia. How can ANY self-responsible diver even board such a wreck???

Accidents do happen. But cruising on such a nutshell in open waters with a crew that knows f*ck-all about safety procedures (which you can already see from the state of their boat) is payed-for suicide.

So Columbia now wants to serve this site exclusively. Well, good luck on that. I can tell you that the word has spread in the diving community in Europe and no one in their right mind will board a Columbian operated boat to dive Malpelo unless A LOT of things change for the better.

Where was the dingy driver? Did the captain of the mother ship mount a search? I am amazed how Colombian television and media dramatically examined every angle of the story except the only ones that mattered – the dingy and the dive boat. What happened? Could the driver not start the engine? Did he have a spare? Did he have any gas to search? DID he search? I suspect, though I don’t know nor have I heard, that he had none of the above and panicked. Then he went back to the Maria Patricia that was similarly unprepared. A tragedy foretold. Just a question of when.

The press covered every angle — the sharks, the angry sea, the time of day, the remoteness, the navy, the planes, the dive, the lost diver’s brother (and sister, father, niece, nephew, mother, grandmother, uncle, aunt etc.) EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE EXCEPT THE TWO THAT MATTERED – the dingy driver and mother boat. I regret the lost divers. What a bummer.

Having read all comments I paid specially attention to Morse’s. I think a diver as he claims to be I assume he did a check on the equipments and all aids on Maria Patricia prior to dive. Why did he still dive despite the lack of proper equipments on Maria Patricia?

On the other hand I appreciate the comments on that Sten person, seems an experienced diver but his lack of elegance to raise proper and due concerns by promoting the other boat is really disturbing to say the least. I’m not a diver, I work in the marine insurance bussiness for over 21 years and in my own experience to be cautious is much better to be experienced! I repeat, how come they all decided to go on Maria Patricia if such boat is in the conditions stated by Sten?…something does not fit anyway.

Hello, Alejandro. I appreciate your thoughts on this, and I take full responsibility that it was a risk boarding and diving with this operator. I am not playing the victim here. I only hope to assist the true story in getting out there. The truth is that I had a lot of red flags and almost didn’t board the MP. It was only when I met Carlos, who exuded professionalism, experience and humility did I change my mind and decide to go ahead with the trip. I remember thinking to myself (literally) “what is the worst that could go wrong?”. Also, at the time of organising the trip I was living in Colombia and there were only two operators that left from Co. I researched both extensively and I went with the MP that had overall better reviews and I had a better feeling with while communicating with their admin. MP was also the more expensive option for me. I was not trying to get a cheap trip. In total it cost a bit upwards of 2,000 USD. I would definitely pay closer attention to the ‘red flags’ while diving with unknown operators in the future (and would urge others to do so) and follow my gut instinct now that I know a taste of “what is the worst that could go wrong”. I am incredibly lucky that Sten and the Yemaya were there the following day. If not for them, this story would have been very different for me. I respect you are critical of things you read on the internet. I am the same and this has also been an experience of how quickly misinformation can spread. Best regards

Ruben Campuzano on October 24, 2016 at 12:10 pm Reply

Dear Fellows,
WITH ALL YOUR RESPECT, A LESSON TO LEARN:
As a Colombian CMAS diving instructor and a deep sea diver that had a chance in 1982 to dive one of the wildest and most beautiful place on earth (Malpelo), I am astonished about picking up pieces from such of awful and preventable event.

My 30 years of exposure as a deep sea diver and hyperbaric safety technician/officer abroad has taught me that a accident/tragedy is always generated by a chain of repetitive and non-repetitive events, and when we become too confident whether we have experience or not, then disaster ALWAYS strikes with unforgiven consequences; Malpelo is considered a remote/extreme place to dive, like Everest (Dried Ocean): “An unforgiven place, where there is no room for any mistakes at all”.

As all of you know well, diving in Malpelo is not like diving any reef, it is place that indeed demands lots of experience , knowledge and proper life support equipment that constantly requires proper decision making with rationale approach. A remote site that demands the augmentation of safe dive operations by a basic contingency & survival plan.

I am hoping that the Colombian diving community including training and regulatory authorities will learn from such of preventable tragedy.

In conclusion, it is unfortunate to learn that the lack of life support equipment, lack of a contingency plan/survival equipment (waterproof beacon), etc, etc had left behind families in awful pain.

“THOSE WHO DO NOT LEARN FROM THE PAST, ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT”.

“AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION, IS BETTER THAN A TON OF TREATMENT”

“WE CAN NOT CHANGE THE WEATHER, WE CAN NOT CHANGE THE CIRCUMSTANCES, BUT WE CAN CHANGE OURSELVES”……………

Es lamentable que esta discusión haya tomado un rumbo tan agresivo. Sería interesante enfocarnos en identificar las verdaderas causas para evitar que tragedias como esta vuelvan a suceder.
Aunque ciertamente se cometieron errores humanos, justamente eso nos demuestra que no podemos permitir que esos errores humanos se tengan que pagar necesariamente con la muerte.
Como lo expresa la sabiduría popular, “más vale la seguridad que la policía”, y la seguridad cuesta, pero nunca podrá costar más que nuestras vidas y peor aún, que la vida de personas que confían en nosotros.
Y creo que la causa del problema surge justamente de lo que acaba de plantear Sten: Lo económico. Y allí todos somos responsables. Responsable el cliente que pide rebaja. Cómo si su propia vida fuera una mercancía. Responsable el operador que entra en el juego y busca economías para capturar un cliente e irresponsables las autoridades que no toman conciencia de la verdadera responsabilidad que les ha encomendado la sociedad.

Hello Sten, I just wanted to say thank you very much for sharing the truth about what has really happened. Also, I want to thank you again very much for both saving myself and all the efforts you made to to help in the search of the other 4. Yourself and all the crew at the Yemaya were incredibly professional, experienced and kind. If you were not there that day, then I am sure that myself, Jorge and Hernan would not still be here. I cannot vouch highly enough for your integrity. I am sad that you are receiving so much hatred for posting the true story. This is a difficult subject to discuss without raising the emotions of those involved. I think you have done a great job at getting the facts out there. I think it might be useful to write a version in spanish as well. And possibly a version that omits the promotion of the Yemaya, so that others will not misinterpret this as an act for personal gain. If I can do anything from my end don’t hesitate to let me know. Thank you again very much for the rescue and your hospitality onboard the Yemaya. Best wishes
Peter

Hola Sten, sólo quería decir muchas gracias por compartir la verdad sobre lo que realmente ha sucedido. Además, quiero darle gracias otra vez por la rescata de mí y de todos los esfuerzos realizados en para ayudar en la búsqueda de los otros 4. Usted mismo y todo el equipo en el Yemaya eran increíblemente profesional, experimentado y amable. Si usted no estaba allí ese día, entonces estoy seguro de que a mí mismo, Jorge y Hernan no habría todavía aquí. Yo se q tienes mucha integridad. Estoy triste que está recibiendo tanto odio por publicar la historia real. Este es un tema difícil de hablar sin levantar las emociones de las personas involucradas. Creo que has hecho un gran trabajo en conseguir los los factos por ahí. Creo que podría ser útil para escribir una versión en español también. Y, posiblemente, una versión que omite la promoción de la Yemayá, por lo que los demás no malinterpretar esto como un acto en beneficio propio. Si puedo hacer cualquier cosa de mi lado no dude en hacérmelo saber. Gracias otra vez por el rescate y su hospitalidad a bordo del Yemayá. Los mejores deseos
Peter

Hi Peter, many thanks for your comments. Roberto made a similar comment; unfortunately, while Spanish is my second language (after Swedish) and I can speak it fluently, my written Spanish is terrible.

Yes, some people think that I am doing this for personal gain since I do trips on Yemaya. What they don’t realize is that Yemaya has been fully booked since July of this year, before the accident happened. There are no more departures left to sell except for a few spaces, and I won’t be on any of those trips.

I have always walked my own path in life and this time is no different. I stand by my words and my recommendation of Yemaya.

Take care.

At the end this could happen to any of us; aside from thanking him, we should consider helping captain Sten with all the expenses he had

Hola Pedro, thank you for your note. Let me just clarify that I am not the captain of the boat. I do several trips a year on Yemayá as a dive guide.

Also, the Colombian diving community did collect donations one week after the accident in order to reimburse the owner for the fuel that was provided to Maria Patricia.

La verdad no tiene colores y es una sola, puede que Sten haya lastimado sensibilidades, pero en una situación que terminó tragicamente, todos los errores tienen que salir a la luz para que no vuelvan a cometerse. Apenas inicio en este mundo y es una actividad que requiere evaluación e implementación de todas las normas de seguridad posible. Me alegro por los buzos que pudieron salir de esta y mi expreso mi mas sentido pesar a las familias de Carlos y Vanessa.

AVOIDABLE TRAGEDY !

….what is now being lost in this blog are some key elements that have everything to do with HOW a dive boat is to be run. It is unfortunate that there are divers commenting here that this is just a tragic event due to nature and the circumstances of the state of the sea and weather…

I will admit that mother nature can cause many problems for us as divers, but from what i have read and heard from everyone here and on other forms AND having been a guest on the Maria Patricia–this IS and WAS an avoidable accident. One that most professional dive boats not only would not have happen to them, but be DISGUSTED at the nature of how this incident was handled and the dive operations in general.

All i can say is that this boat the Maria Patricia (had very nice people on it and all wanted to do the best job they knew how to do)…BUT, it was 100% obvious there was little to NO training on how to handle diving in the open ocean. Lack of proficient dive briefings that included the skiff drivers; THIS ONE IS BIG–Skiff drivers without VHF radios, Skiffs with slow leaks in them; skiffs with outboard engines that would die on the way to the dive location. And another big problem–skiff drivers that had no skill at all dealing with divers…..how to look for bubbles, know the current and all things you EXPECT of a dive boat operation.

Question: would a nautilus lifeline have saved the day? Not sure…i had mine and was left at a seamount with no boat nor skiff in site and nobody EVER answered our call….i knew the skiff would not since he did not have a radio…but the dive boat never answered us on channel 16….I had a converstaion with the captain about this and later he gave his skiff driver a radio…but it sat at the bottom of the boat in a water lined protector in a few inches of water….doubtful he would have heard me calling….

I might as well go on about this since i know that many divers now days are just not aware of the HUGE potential life threatening situations we put ourselves in when we hire a boat to go diving on …..most assume the boat is in good operating condition and assume dive masters have all the gear they need and are properly trained; give good dive briefings—That INCLUDE the skiff driver and someone that is watching from the dive boat for people popping up in the water….this is normal on any properly run dive vessel…In fact many boats around the world require that EVERY person onboard including the chef, deck-hands and engineers be dive trained—since you never know who will be on deck looking for lost divers floating down current.

….The Maria Patricia is a boat with a nice owner, nice captain, but HUGE lack of professionalism and concern for SAFETY and LIFE of it’s passengers.

our Detroit engines would die while underway—being a boat captain and pretty knowledgeable sea person myself…..i was completely aware of the danger we were in if we lost both engines in big seas at night….About every 4 to 6 hours one of the engines would die and we’d be either on one engine or at stop drifting in the Eastern Pacific until restarted; Dive tanks tied on the back deck with rope….swaying side to side. Open holes on the rusty deck….a compressor that had you seen it, you would think twice about breathing the gas from it…..the compressor intake above the exahust of the generator—but not to worry, i was told it was high enough that it was not a problem….but as a boat owner/operator–you can’t sell me on that one….

I knew the risk that i put myself in on this trip….and treated it with much respect…..Both myself and my friend had to tape up a wire that was grounding out and sparking in our cabin…we took a top cabin with no a/c so we could abandon the vessel without having to crawl up a small ladder opening to the main cabins with a/c…..we knew the potential of this boat going over at night and planned our escape along with our ditch bag and wetsuits and vhf radio’s all in our ditch bag….I have been doing this a long time on boats that are not very safe or seaworthy—and the M.P. is by far the boat that stands out as a boat that should have never had the authority to go to sea…How does this boat pass a safety inspection?

You take lives to sea, you are responsible for those lives….there is NO EXCUSE to run a half-ass operation and pay people substandard wages that don’t allow them to by proper dive gear and get proper training…

again, i have nothing bad to say about many of the people….i have learned that knowlege flows from the top down….if you are not taught—it’s difficult to blame you…..ALL burden and culpability again go back to the man at the top running the vessel….this is a sad event that i was sure something like this or mechanical would occur some day….this boat just is too old, terrible condition and has no properly trained dive personnel onboard. — there might be one or two….but it takes a WHOLE boat to be on watch….

Hopfelly my message is not lost in the wreckage of taking sides etc….

Dear Colleague, you are right in many things here.
But, let me tell you, I do HATE the title for this post.
Do I need to explain my self about this?
I don’t think anyone here wantted to kill anyone, neither sea-men (in the whole sense of the word) nor the Colombia’s laws and procedures.

I do have to admit, according to testimonies, there were many mistakes, I share with you about some of your strategies, and so do I for many of your doubts, but I can’t stop looking at an opportunity for you to sell your professional identity here.

So please, I’d like to ask for changing in the redaction things as LICENSE TO KILL. That’s SENSASIONALIST JOURNALISM

Hello Francisco, thank you for taking the time to comment. I will not change the title because the Colombian authorities should not have allowed Maria Patricia to leave port given her condition and the lack of safety measures onboard. Did the government do an investigation after the accident? Maria Patricia has scheduled dive trips to Gorgona this month. Were those trips suspended while the government conducted a thorough safety inspection of the vessel?

Gracias por ayudar a las personas y compartirnos lo sucedido, es una pena que todos los colombianos se creen gringos, no escriben en español y no dan las gracias. lastima por ellos

DMaster Colombia on September 25, 2016 at 5:07 pm Reply

Roberto, tiene Ud toda la razon, pongo mi opinion en Español, saludos.

“Independientemente de los intereses de Sten, y yo no lo conozco. Tiene razón en muchas cosas, no tenemos que esperar los informes de investigación oficiales para juzgar por las imágenes, soy Buzo colombiano y he buceado en muchas partes durante unos 25 años, sé que hay muchos Buzos mejor y más experimentados que yo, pero en mi experiencia breve y humilde, siempre he criticado el exceso de confianza de muchos operadores en mi país “no sólo en el Pacífico” he oído historias y visto cosas peligrosas con muchas personas cercanas, que han finalizado sin tragedia afortunadamente, los llamados “mini cursos” que ofrecen en el paquete turístico en el que se llevan a la gente a mar abierto en grandes grupos.
Quiero ser claro, Colombia es un paraíso para el buceo y afortunadamente son más los buenos y responsables operadores de buceo que los malos, yo personalmente conozco y admiro un montón de ellos, sólo hay que ser selectivos a la hora de elegir con quien vas a bucear igual que en cualquier otro lugar en el mundo.
Pero eso no significa que tenemos que ocultar y desconocer la falta de regulaciones o la omisión de las mismas, en Colombia y en el mundo está muy bien regulado el tema marítimo en todo el sentido de la disciplina, sé que el capitán del Maria Patricia debe estar muy sentido por lo que paso (pero si esa embarcación fuera sometida en su momento, en el mismo momento en que sucedió esta tragedia a una inspección estricta del cumplimento de las regulaciones marítimas, con todo el dolor y respeto con el Maria Patricia creo que no hubiera pasado por mucho una revisión), no se trata del Maria Patricia, se trata de la falta disciplina en nuestras instituciones y de la corrupción que dejan que todos los días salgan barcos en peor estado al mar con el pensamiento que nunca va a pasar nada.
Sólo Sten sabe su propósito con este artículo “espero sea para abrir los ojos de los operadores”, pero aparte de eso y lamentablemente tiene razón en muchas cosas.
Los colombianos tenemos que aceptar nuestra falta de disciplina que refleja nuestra cultura, somos un pueblo muy relajado y nos ha traído tantas tragedias en muchos aspectos durante toda la historia.
Apoyarnos como buzos en situaciones difíciles como esta y unirnos NO significa desconocer y ser flexible en los errores comunes y tapar el sol con sólo un dedo.
Debemos trabajar juntos para construir algunas leyes, o algo para asegurarse de que están siendo obedecidas con el fin de reducir este tipo de tragedias.
Fotos, el audio del testimonio del rescatado More, la experiencia relatada en este blog por JHonny quién alguna vez viajo en el Maria Patricia (insisto no se trata del MP, si no de los barcos que están aún saliendo en muy peores condiciones todos los días y no pasa nada)
Es triste, la verdad duele, pero tenemos que trabajar juntos para ser mejores.”

Sten Tks for posting Peter´s testimony

Hola Roberto, gracias por su comentario. Disculpe por no lo haber escrito es español. Mi primer idioma es sueco y aunque el español sea mi segundo, se me hace mas fácil escribir en ingles. Saludos.

Harold Fernando Botero Gutierrez on September 24, 2016 at 3:38 pm Reply

Hello Stern, who writes is the Son of Captain Botero, I am diver from more than thirty years ago, I read your writing, all lights only write with a view to take advantage of a very painful situation, you have no idea of the pain you feel my father having lost in this tragic accident to nearest collaborator, friend, working together for more than 25 years, in addition to Vanessa too, you think that you may feel at this time? As you think it feels the after reading your unfortunate written? As far as I can see you think that accidents can not happen to you?. Speak evil of all, of the Colombian authorities, the Colombian Navy, etc, but I remember an incident three years ago that the Yemaya required aid????, if I know, now it is not necessary to have memory, I wish you all the best Stern.

Harold Fernando Botero Gutierrez on September 24, 2016 at 3:37 pm Reply

Hola stern, quien escribe Es el Hijo del Capitan Botero, yo soy Buzo desde hace más de treinta años, he leído tu escrito, a todas luces solo escribes con un fin de sacar ventaja de una situación muy dolorosa, no tienes idea del dolor que siente mi padre al haber perdido en este trágico accidente a su más cercano colaborador, amigo, trabajando juntos por más de 25 años, además de Vanessa, que piensas que se puede sentir en este momento? como crees que se siente el después de leer tu desafortunado escrito? por lo que veo piensas que los accidentes jamás te pueden suceder, a eso sí llamo exceso de confianza, hablas mal de todos, de las autoridades Colombianas, de la Marina colombiana, etc, pero yo sí recuerdo un incidente hace tres años que el Yemaya requirió ayuda, se te olvido????, si yo sé, ahora no es necesario tener memoria, ahora sin importar el dolor de los demás sacas partido de un accidente, te deseo lo mejor Stern.

Lots of passion and hate in response to this thread. I’m sincerely sorry for the loss of Vanessa, Carlos and their families.
I’ve been twice in a similar situation this year. First time in Feb. with a diver was missing at the end of the dive. The wind and the current were pushing him to the next bus stop which was Antartica. We had to conduct a search and rescue, contacting instantly the local authorities, requesting air support and other dive operators in the area. It took us 4 hours to rescue our missing diver who had drifted 4 nautical miles in the open sea. The diver had a Nautilus Lifeline in his BCD and a yellow SMB. The Nautilus Lifeline never worked, while it had been tested at the beginning of the trip. What saved the diver was the prompt response of our captain to initiate instantly a methodical search with our main vessel and two dinghies, each powered with two 90hp outboard engines.
The second time, it happened to myself in Darwin when I got caught by strong currents on the last dive of the day. I resurfaced on the opposite side of the arch and I was not visible to any of the skippers. I got lucky that my Nautilus Lifeline was functional, and that the skippers and the captain of our boat had their radio turned on at all time !!!!
Now, my point is that when you go diving places like Malpelo, Coco or the Galapagos which are known for being dangerous, you have the responsibility AS A DIVE OPERATOR to provide the safest dives possible but make sure that you are fully prepared for the worst. It means:
– conduct regular trainings of your crew
– provide a beacon (eg. Nautilus Lifeline) to your guests and make its use mandatory on every dive
– provide an inflatable SMB of RED or ORANGE color and at least 2.5m high to all of your guests
– provide a safety diving whistle connected to the BCD to all of your guests
– provide a mirror to all of your guests
– make sure that your skippers have a radio on board and fully functional
– be prompt to react to such situations

To me, it seems like the Maria Patricia was not well equipped and totally unprepared… and when the shit hit the fan, it hit it hard. Trying to save money on OPEX costs… I would not go diving with them to Malpelo.

One more time, I’m sad for the loss of two divers, and relieved that the 3 others could make it safe back to home.

Thank you to everyone for taking the time to read through my long write-up of what happened. As I have mentioned on another site, I’m sorry I can’t respond to each one, especially to those who think I’m doing this for personal gain or financial reasons. Everyone is entitled to freedom of speech and freedom of choice, so again, thank you for your positive and negative feedback. Just no profanities, please, or I will exercise my right to delete your comment.

Just so there is no misunderstanding: I wrote that I am a dive guide. I do several trips a year on Yemayá as a guide. I recommend Yemayá. I do not recommend Maria Patricia.

And I love Colombians. But not the people responsible for this tragedy.

Harold Fernando Botero Gutierrez on September 24, 2016 at 1:22 pm Reply

God bless the YEMAYA the only boat of the World able to will never happen a diving accident, Divers of the World please only can safe in the YEMAYA boat, Really????, in my 25 years of the expirience diving, 90% of the dive accidents are due the Human error, Stern you are a judge and jury, is very easy judge and “we are Generals after the War”, Stern your Information is clearly Biased and seeks to profit from tragic accident, you doubt ability the Carlos Jimenez to Dive, so sad that opinions, you Knows who was Carlos Jimenez?, your article is devoid of truth. Only a fool could believe that never should a diving accidents when traveling “any name” Boat, all those who dive is minimize the risk of such activity, I can only wish you never have to spend in your life a situation that became those who survived, Viviana and Carlos situation of the sea, the Pain of their Families and much less by the pain of losing a literally who get a brother of blood, the pain of the Maria Patricia Captain and crew, feel the impotence to can’t find after of days of search in the Pacific Ocean, I pray to GOD that situation never repeat again. From my point of view, your publication “license to Kill” is a tabloid, tell me what is your benefit with biased publication?. Should us a real answer.

Hola Captain Harold, thank your taking the time to leave a response. What I’m really interested in is your response to the following questions:

1. When do you think you should untie the mother boat from the mooring if your dive skiff hasn’t returned with the divers at the expected time? When I have open-circuit divers who get lost and are not found after 1.5 hours, I order the mother boat to do a search right away.
2. Did your dive skiff have a working radio?
3. Why did you not alert us right away? The navy station on the island had a very good, long-range VHF radio and they had our satellite phone number.

I just added the recorded testimony of Peter Morse so you can listen to it if you haven’t heard it yet.

Despite Sten´s interests, and I don´t know him. He´s right in many things, we don´t have to wait for oficial investigation reports to judge by the images, I´m a Colombian diver and i´ve been diving all over for about 25 years, I know there are many divers far better and experinced tan me but in my short and humble experience I´ve always criticized the excess of confidence of some operators in my country “not just in the pacific”, I´ve Heard and see myself many close people´s dangerous stories which most have ended well luckily.
Those so called “mini cursos” mini course offered on tourist packs where they take people to the open sea in heavy groups.
I want to be clear in something, Colombia is a Paradise for scuba diving and fortunately there are more good and responsable operators tan bad ones I personally know and admire lots of theme, you just have to be selective at the time of choosing who you´re diving with as in any other place in the world.
But it doesn´t means we have to hide and unrecognize the lack of regulations or the omission of theme.
Only Sten knows his purpose with this writing “hope it´s human” but apart of that and sadly he is right in so many things.
We Colombians have to accept our lack of discipline, it reflects our culture, we are very relaxed people and it has brought us so many tragedies in all aspects trough history.
To support us as divers in a difficult situation and get united doesn´t means unrecognize and be flexible on common mistakes and cover the sun with just one finger.
We should be working together to build some laws, or something to make sure they are being obeyed in order to reduce these kind of tragedies.
So sad, truth hurts, but we have to work together to be better.

DMaster Colombia, you have gained my deep respect. We need more people like you out there. This is not an attack on Colombia (I have many Colombian friends); but mistakes were made and someone has to be accountable.

If ever we cross paths one day, please introduce yourself to me. It would be great to meet you.

Well said….
As divers who share a love of the ocean and its’ inhabitants, we feel entitled to warn others of operations that put lives at risk.

This to me has NOTHING to do with the nationality of the boat…it can be a Canadian or Swiss boat for all i care…but as soon as we learn of such INCOMPETENCE that IS criminal in most countries….then we as divers should share such things…in fact, for many of us like Sten, it makes us so mad and frustrated to even see an operation be allowed to go to sea with such incompetence and mechanical problems…that it burns inside us until we explode on an incident like this…because as responsible and many years of training on proper dive vessels….we know how important it is that SAFETY and safety plans are put in place….the training and expense of training and years of experienced captains beating us up for screwing up…..until we learned. You don’t just hire someone from the dock and put them on the boat and expect that osmosis of knowledge will take place…

Thank you for sharing this very important story Sten.
Great effort by your team in the search.
You are right.
It didn’t need to happen.
A tragedy for all the families.
Another reason why the Nautilus Lifeline Radio should be absolutely mandatory at
destinations like these.
Do your research and homework first divers!
And anyone who has had to opportunity to dive with the author KNOWS that this has
nothing to do with self or vessel promotion.
Shame on YOU people.
Dive safe.

Luis Fernando Hincapie on September 23, 2016 at 6:36 pm Reply

Yo creo que debemos aprender de estos casos que no consideraría como un error sino como un aprendizaje.
Nosotros los buzos amamos el mar, la aventura y a veces el riesgo.
Pero nunca pensamos en que en esta actividad vamos a perder la vida, al contrario, amamos más está vida y queremos dejar un bello legado a nuestras familias.
Debemos reflexionar, conocer que fue lo que pasó, saber cómo planear un nuevo viaje y otras inmersiones en esas difíciles condiciones y saber cómo actuar TODOS como un equipo.
Debemos conocer el barco, sus equipos de comunicaciones, su capacidad de navegación, cuales son los planes de contingencia y emergencia con que cuentan, capacidad de almacenaje de agua, compresores, filtros, equipos de buceo etc etc etc.
Sólo así y antes de hacernos a la mar podremos saber si confiamos nuestras vidas al capitán de la embarcación y a los guías de buceo.
Para mis amigos fallecidos en esta aventura, un Dios los guarde en su mar y fortaleza a sus familias.

Regardless of the writer’s self interest, and he may be wrong about the timing and the experience of the dive guide, BUT the facts speak for themselves.. this is a well known strong current and remote area, SO why wasn’t there more than one dinghy out with a single 15 hp motor? why no radios? why no immediate call to everyone to search? why did the guy on the rocks get picked up by this guy’s diveboat if there was an organized rescue effort going on? Bottom line, NEGLIGENCE and INCOMPETENCE. No time for “brotherhood” when people are dying because there wasn’t a backup for a risky dive… inexcusable by anyone with a brain.

Hi Sten, Remember me? I am now the senior journalist on Undercurrent.org.
I would like to use some of the material from your story. Can I quote you?
Regards, John Bantin

Hi John, of course, I remember you. Nice to hear from you.

Yes, please go ahead. Some people are very upset with me because of what I wrote, so I’m sleeping with a machete under my pillow. But I won’t change my stance for anyone.

Juan Carlos Restrepo on September 23, 2016 at 12:49 pm Reply

Hi Sten. This is Juan from Star Clippers. Well done on your blog and account of this unfortunate and unnecessary accident. We get fed bullshit by the media and there were so many lose ends with the story that we were all craving for the truth behind this tragedy.

This atrocious (borderline criminal) level of negligence and incompetence should not go umpunished. A friend of mine is an instructor as well and he personally brought up major safety concerns with the boat owner several years ago. Guess what? Nothing was done. Too complicated to buy handheld VHF radios for the zodiac drivers… Plus, in which world do you save money by bunkering JUST the exact amount of fuel to get there and back? Are you not going to use the spare fuel for contingencies at a later stage anyhow? It is ludicrous. There are some horror stories from that boat. That rust bucket should have been scrapped a long time ago.

On a different note, do drop me a line by private email. I would love to go to Malpelo with you guys before it is too late. Would love to catch up with you man. Great memories of our time working together.

Cheers brother,

Juan Carlos Restrepo

Sad story , my product diver flare might have been a life saver hear

It is sad to see how people shatters regardless of the pain of a nation, a family, friends, friends of the soul but has never seen or shared bubbles. Which experts believe will have “the absolute truth”, but remember that it does not exist and fix the lives of others is very easy.

If I had been there I would have done …. going, just being in that situation with the strengths and weaknesses of decisions and force help us learn, pity that has cost lives. But no one, absolutely no one who loves the sea would harm with intent and premeditation another human being. not the sea, not the people who love the ocean …

“Yemayá is your option to go diving with if you want to see Malpelo. This is the only boat that has safety measures and experienced guides I trust.”??? You are crummy! how is possible that you want take advantage of this tragedy for your own business interest?

This kind of things can happen in the diving world, i mean, we are at the mercy of nature and whatever be the staff capabilities, nature is unpredictable and is relentless.

So, here i’m thinking that what you want is hogging the diving business in Malpelo.
Shame of you!

As a foreigner living in Colombia for over ten years and as a diver (including Malpelo in august 2016) I interpret your article as an emotional response based on incomplete information. The self promotion is distasteful given the tragedy. And the characterization of Colombia undermines your credibility and character, and is plain wrong.

I traveled on another Colombian boat that you don’t mention and everything (including 5 zodiacs) was extremely professional. I traveled with a Colombian dive company and would (and did) trust them with my life.

I think the tragedy could have been avoided if a device like nautilus had been used and I hope this becomes mandatory practice. In this I think we would agree.

I hope readers of this base their opinions on the facts published after the investigation and that for now the families can grieve without baseless, angry mudslinging.

Hernan Rodríguez on September 23, 2016 at 9:56 am Reply

Made my Point. Idiot comments from a Idiot mind. Sorry to hear that you got dehydrated and sunburned while we were floating and chillin’ for 50 hours. You Poor little thing! You’re only right on One thing. Thank to the creator this has never happened to you, Or never Will. Things are changing because of this tragedy. But NOT because of you.

Hello again, Hernan. I have been lost at sea. I was not lost for 50 hours like you were, but I did not have planes searching for me and my mother boat left me out there to die.

Obviously, you did not read that part. Who’s the idiot again?

Hernan Rodríguez on September 23, 2016 at 9:55 am Reply

Hi Sten. Im Hernan Rodríguez. One of the divers rescued in Malpelo. I was there. I know exactly what and when everything happended. And IT’S NOT HOW YOU SAY IT DID. You only wrote this from your perspective and Point of view. Please read the facts explained by colombian diver on sept 23rd. That’s pretty much how things happended. Of course. Mistakes where made and there’s a lot to learn from this nightmare. But it doesn’t give you the right to make your own comments and assumsions, making people believe that you have the only truth. Shame on you!. Don’t be an asshole. We divers are supossed to be brothers and be supportive in times like this. It’s pretty obvious that you have economical reasons attached to this lame article, but this is NOT the time Or place to bring such things. I Just feel so sad for my friends Carlos and Vanessa and their families. But I feel worse when an stupid person thinks he has the right to Speak his mind

Hola Hernan, I am happy that you survived. But shame on me? SHAME ON YOU!!! I was looking for you for three days!!! I was standing on the roof of our boat for hours when I was not on bridge watch. I got sunburned and dehydrated for staying outside for a long time for three days, holding on to the hope that we would find you.

SHAME ON ME?? SHAME ON YOU!!! Just tell me if you don’t want me to waste my time looking for you next time you get lost at sea.

I am SO Glad that Sten made a reply Hernan…..otherwise this conversation about safety and in this case lack of safety and standard safe dive procedures would not be happening.
I am surprised that you are not upset with the dive operator and their lack of forming a proper safe dive system in place….like a dive skiff with you at all times along with the operator having a radio and in contact with the mother-ship at all times…..this is just common sense and should NOT go unnoticed. There are too many standard dive procedures that make this accident nearly impossible to happen except for on an ill equipped boat.

A dive briefing before any dive about safe dive practices; putting a skiff driver in charge of your safety; having a watch on the boat at all times when divers are in the water; having a man over board procedure on the boat as you depart port….All standard operating procedure on any dive boat or tourist boat i have been on when going out to sea.
Perhaps you are not aware of all of these things that are put in place to save your life and make it safe for all onboard…..this is the only explanation i see when a conversation like this occurs….i mean you no harm nor offense, but you put your life in the hands of your captain and crew and you should EXPECT them to be well trained and confident in their ability or they should not be on the boat….and should learn as many of us have on dive boats..by starting at the bottom and being taught by competent captains and crew members with more knowledge than ourselves….i see nothing like this in place on the MP….

Diver Sad from Colombia on September 23, 2016 at 8:54 am Reply

Thank you! Is sad for me, for my country… but for me is The awful truth …

I find this post very skewed. For financial reasons, most likely. Why don’t you disclose yor relationship to Yemayá? You sure want to make it look like you were a guest…
Now, let’s fix some imprecissions: First, Colombian Government won’t “kick” yemayá. The Colombian Government has te right to request that every non-national entering colombian territory (Malpelo is Colombia) must pass through a migration office. For obvious reasons, Malpelo can’t have one of such offices, and that’s why every operator is being required, starting 2018, to have all its foreigner guests properly documented while in the country.
Second, the operator did alert the authorities just one hour after the divers went missing. Of this there’s documented evidence with the authorities. The investigation is still ongoing, so nobody (that should include you, I guess) knows the whole truth yet: all we have are fragmented versions.
Third, you propose that the operator (and it looks like Colombian people as a whole) despise human life. This is temerarious at least, and calumny at most. An operation of this size (still ongoing, after 21 days of occured) never seen in Latin America, that involved millions of dollars and hundreds of people in the search efforts, doesn’t talk to me about despising human life. It talks the opposite: we here care for the people.
Fourth, you state that Carlos Jimenez, “was known to other Colombian guides as inexperienced”. Carlos had more than 1.000 dives in **Malpelo alone**, not to mention the many more he had in other destinations and environments. For us, diving professionals in Colombia, Carlos was one of the most experienced professionals in the pacific. Talking bad and wrong about a person is distasteful, talking bad and wrong about a dead person is despicable.
Fifth, you said that “you experienced divers” knew where to search for. Please give some context here: the two rescued divers and the buoy were found about 50 miles away of the island, on waters with an average depth of 3.8 km. This wasn’t a diving rescue operation, this was an open sea search operation in an area (at the time) slightly greater than 2.1 million hectares. Colombian Armada had a full team of oceanographers and *real* professionals working out the modelling of currents. This wasn’t the search for a person in a swimming pool, and the authorities were up to the task.
I could fix many more of your points, but this is wearing me out. I invite you to speak the truth, reveal your interests and motivations and stop defamating a country and an operator that have gone the extra mile to solve this tragedy.
I really hope this never happens to you or any of your operations, and remember that no operation is fully protected from tragedy.

A tragedy, rather a crime that should be pursued !
But the truth is: Whatever bad happens on dive boats, even when it gets known to everybody; divers will book these boats anyway and hope that it won’t happen to them….

I would not trust a boat called as a demon. Yemaya is a goddess used in Santeria and occult rituals.
Likewise, you are an abusive person, who does not care about other people’s pain, only cares promote your demonic boat.

You are just taking advantage of this awful situation to make yourself famous. You are a disgusting person

No man, Andres is right! just read this part of the article: “Yemayá is your option to go diving with if you want to see Malpelo. This is the only boat that has safety measures and experienced guides I trust.”

They are scavengers!!!

Reinaldo Serfaty on September 23, 2016 at 5:31 am Reply

Thanks Sten for sharing the real facts of this tragedy.

thanks for sharing sten. so important that the divecommunity knows about columbian conditions.best from germany. arne

Sten,
Thank you for getting the real story out there. It’s very sad that that operation has and will probably continue to put divers at risk. See you one of these days.

Regards, Marty Halldin

Thanks for sharing your perspective. It makes some sense now, I was following the incident through several media outlets, all the situation had the stench of serious and nefastus incompetence by the operator. The cherry on the top was the dick measuring & popularity contest among some of the rescue crew, meanwhile, at least 3 families were/are in total despair and anguish, 2 of them without any chance of closure…

Thanks for your effort. Thanks to bring us the facts. A error’s chain occurred, all it can be avoided.

Wow! Incredible story. It’s terrible to hear about the poor response by the responsible boat. You guys did a great job in the search efforts.

Hi there, thanks for dropping by. I’m sad for the divers, disgusted with the operator. It didn’t need to happen, but this is what happens when you have lowly-paid dive guides and captains in advanced destinations such as Malpelo.

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