|Maldives Liveaboard Fire|
|© Copyright 2007 Bill Jones World Rights Reserved|
Maldives Indonesia. Maldives is often called “The Promise of Eden”. That promise was temporarily interrupted for passengers on the liveaboard “Guilia” when it caught fire, exploded, and sank about 7:30p on February 19, 2007. There were no casualties but the passenger list included four divers from Bay Area Houston’s own LUNARFINS dive club. Divers had only been aboard for nine hours of the planned trip and had only done one checkout dive.
Anchored in sixty feet of water near the Kaafu atoll in Gulhee harbor, passengers were evacuated to other vessels as the flames spread. Crews from nearby fishing boats helped in the attempt to put out the fire, but the “Guilia” was totally destroyed. Divers from “Guilia” staff dove the wreck the following morning and reported that nothing would be salvageable.
The “Guilia” was a luxurious, diver-friendly live-aboard. It was well appointed and laid out fabulously and staffed with a knowledgeable and competent crew and divemasters.
One Lunarfins’ member had just laid down in his cabin when the explosion occurred. Passengers below deck safely made their way to the main deck in total darkness in spite of the ciaos. Passengers on-board lost personal items including cash, credit cards, passports, clothes, and scuba gear.
In the aftermath, “Italian Seafari Adventures” owners and their agents provided emergency clothing, passenger medications, meals, lodging, and spending money. They provided airline arrangements for those wishing to return home. They also brought in personnel from the U.S. Counsel in Sri Lanka to issue temporary passports and facilitated the very prompt support from the Male Police to develop the police reports for use to make claims on trip and homeowner’s insurance policies.
Some passengers elected to stay at five-star resorts in the Maldives for the rest of their vacation. The LUNARFINS on board have already booked the same vacation adventure with “Italian Seafari Adventures” for next year.
The Maldives was part of the area that 87 resorts were closed because of damage caused by a Tsunami on December 28, 2004.
Editor Note: Bill Jones, The Scuba
Guy, is a PADI Master Instructor and a Published and Award-Winning
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