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August 2015    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 30, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Whatís Going on with the Aggressor Fleet?

$500 vouchers may not be enough to quiet complaints

from the August, 2015 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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What's going on in the wheelhouse at the Aggressor Fleet? You may remember Joel Sill's story, "A Bad Night on the ," in our May issue, his first-person tale of the liveaboard's hull ripping open after it broke free of its mooring at Cocos Island, Costa Rica. Less than two months later, another Aggressor boat had a similar experience. We're getting more reader reports about less-thanstellar maintenance and the crew's attitudes. And then there's the overall irritation with the Aggressor Fleet's overall policy of making up for mishaps with $500 vouchers for future trips on its liveaboards -- but only if taken within a year's time. All this from what was once the world's premier dive fleet.

"Should the boat be in operation if crew are unable or reluctant to go above 1,200 rpm or eight knots in perfect conditions?"

One Undercurrent reader was sleeping aboard the Turks & Caicos Aggressor II in May as it headed full-steam toward Provo when, around midnight, she and her husband were thrown from their beds as the boat hit the reef. "Water was coming into the hallway, so we grabbed our passports and wallets and went to the muster station, where the crew passed out life vests. I was astounded to see waves breaking over a reef a few hundred yards in front of the bow, with the island in sight behind it under a three-quarter moon. We were stuck good (bad).

"The crew told passengers they would try to get the liveaboard off the reef to shallow water, so if or when the boat sank, the water wouldn't be so deep. We were allowed to go back to our rooms to quickly gather our belongings and pack dive gear to put on the back deck. The crew radioed a Mayday, but the only vessel that could help was the Turks & Caicos Explorer. When they finally came, at 2:30 a.m., they had to stay a distance away, due to the reef, and offered their tenders to get us off the boat. We could only take a small backpack each. Using a flashlight to creep over the nearly-exposed coral to shore, we beached at the expensive Amanyara resort, but the armed guards -- probably thinking we were Cuban refugees -- never came to assist us, and the resort did not respond to our calls. So we had to land about 20 minutes later, walk on a rock-filled beach to reach the access road, then walk uphill another 20 minutes and climb over the Amanyara's security gates to the vans that took us to another hotel, where we checked in at 4 a.m. and stayed for two days until it was time to catch our flights....

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