“Hurry Up, Get The Fuck Out Of Your Room!”
Passenger recalls frantic escape as surf yacht sinks in the Maldives.
Just yesterday, news broke of a surf charter boat sinking in the Maldives after colliding with a particularly shallow patch of reef.
All passengers and crew got away physically unscathed. But it was a mad scramble to the upper deck as the water rose into the cabins. Boris Romann, a French surfer on the boat, provided us a detailed account of the fateful day.
This account has been edited slightly for length and clarity.
“It happened in the Southern Maldivian Atolls. We were sheltered by a small island to spend the night but as soon as our captain Andreas decided to take off at first light, he accidentally hit the reef pretty hard. Andreas has been navigating through Maldivian waters for 15 years. The ocean water was clear and super calm this day, but apparently he had a problem with his navigating equipment. Clunk.
“At the time, I was having a shit downstairs naked on my toilet, so I didn’t see anything about the accident, but I was first in line to feel the impact. I managed to finish what I was doing, and as soon as I went out of the toilets (less than one minute after the crash), I could already see all the water coming inside the boat where most of the rooms were situated, so I knew straight away that it was pretty bad and I had to pack all my stuff as fast as I could!
“I had all my photography materials, my computer, GoPro, disk drives, SD cards, phone, passport, clothes, bags, and of course all my boards, fins, board bag, etc upstairs and we were 10 guys in the same situation with four members of the boat crew and the captain!
“With the stress I wasn’t organized at all, and as it was almost the end of the trip, my room was a mess. I didn’t have the opportunity to talk to anybody yet, so I didn’t know if the boat would stay at the surface for a few minutes or an hour, or if we had to fucking speed up and jump!
“Then I heard my best friend screaming, ‘Boris, Hurry up! Get the fuck out of your room!’ I was shaking so much while packing, and my moves had absolutely no sense.
“Then I went upstairs and I saw everybody trying to save what they could. The captain was trying hard to save his beers and alcohol bottles while telling us, ‘It’s ok, we have some time and a boat is coming to rescue us.’
“We’d never talked about any safety rules since we’d arrived, so most of us didn’t even know where all the life jackets were (and most of them weren’t working cause we couldn’t close them). Of course we all knew how to swim anyway, but it was just the principle.
“We weren’t going to stay on the boat taking the risk of losing everything we had, so we decided (without the captain’s permission, because he was to busy saving his alcohol) to put most of our stuff on a dinghy and asked a boat worker to drive us to safety on the little island.
“Then we dropped everything and everybody from our crew on the sand, and two of us and the driver went back to the Blue Star to help and save what they could. Finally the second charter came to the rescue.
“We all wish good luck to every member of the crew who has been amazing with us during the trip and we hope that they will be able to work again as soon as possible!”
Meanwhile, Blue Star Surf Charter responded to the incident with a big thumbs up and rolled out their “backup” luxury yacht for all to see on Instagram. Trips are now open from May to November. Anchors away.
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