SY Oriental Siren - Sad News

Discussion in 'Malaysia and Singapore' started by jake11, Jun 7, 2012.

  1. jake11

    jake11 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
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    [TD][h=1]Liveaboard Diving Yacht S/Y Oriental Siren[/h]During the morning of 7th June 2012 the S/Y Oriental Siren, owned by Samui BP Holdings and operated under Worldwide Dive and Sail’s Siren Fleet, had to be abandoned by guests and crew.
    The yacht was making her way from Labuan to the remote Spratly Island chain for a 10-night diving safari at Layang Layang, Malaysia. Prior to departure, weather reports from both the Malaysian and Thai meteorological departmentswere checked. Both stated that whilst some swells of 1.5-2.5m were to be expected, the storm was passing and fair weather was predicted. Swells such as these have been very easily managed in the past when the yacht has made trips around Thailand, Burma and the Andaman Islands. However during the crossing, of 150 nautical miles, the yacht met with unexpected and severe conditions, including a series of high waves with no land obstacles for protection.
    At approximately 5am, local time, just 12 nautical miles from reaching Layang Layang, water was seen by the on board engineer in the bilge; the yacht had begun to take on water. Emergency petrol powered pumps were employed and the yacht remained under power and continued to make headway towards the shelter and safety of Layang Layang Island.
    The Cruise Director contacted the operations team who in turn contacted the Malaysian Naval Services stationed on the island. Meanwhile the guests on board were roused and brought to the muster station in preparation for the possibility of evacuation. At approximately 6am, local time, a report was given that the water had risen and disrupted the electrical systems and subsequently the main engine had lost power. The decision was taken by the Cruise Director and Captain to evacuate the guests and crew into the emergency life rafts. All guests & crew had been fully prepared with clothing, life vests and their documentation; however other personal items were left behind in the interest of safety. All the guests reached Layang Layang Island safely after evacuation.
    No one, either guest or crew member, was injured during this incident and we commend all aboard for their management of this situation.

    All guests are currently at the local resort on Layang Layang Island and an air transfer to Labuan or Kota Kinabalu is in process. The crew was able to salvage a few personal items of the guests prior to abandoning the yacht and the operations team is preparing personal kit bags with clothes & toiletries for all.
    The team in Thailand has been busy contacting embassies and notifying the families of those on board. Meanwhile yacht owner, John Bethell, and co-owner of Worldwide Dive and Sail, Mark Shandur, have flown to Malaysia to meet the guests and ensure they are safe and get to their homes quickly.

    If you or your guests were due to travel on the S/Y Oriental Siren, the Worldwide Dive and Sail reservations office will be contacting you shortly with an update. We would like to thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.
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  2. scottydawg

    scottydawg Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sacramento
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    Sounds like some sad news about this boat. At least everyone is safe.

     
  3. Allison Finch

    Allison Finch Loggerhead Turtle

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    Wow, another loss. I was in Raja when the mandarin Siren was lost. It's been a bad year for that company. Having been on the Philippines Siren, I know what a good company it is. So sad. Did the boat go down, for sure?
     
  4. scottydawg

    scottydawg Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sacramento
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    I don't know if the boat went down, only know what I posted above. If someone stayed aboard and got the ship safely to shore then I would think it is OK but if all crew abandoned ship I assume there was no way to run the pumps any longer and she is a gonner.
     
  5. Wisnu

    Wisnu Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Katameya Heights, New Cairo
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    Sorry, but I don't think to be posted in this forum. The boat owner, operator, departure, destination are not in Indonesia.
     
  6. Worldwide Dive and Sail

    Worldwide Dive and Sail ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

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    Hi Jake11 - thanks for posting our statement - we have also posted yesterday on the Liveaboards page.

    If anyone wishes to learn more please visit the liveaboards section of the forum or the worldwide dive and sail website

    Thanks and best wishes
    Siren Fleet
     
  7. Worldwide Dive and Sail

    Worldwide Dive and Sail ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

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    Dear Scubaboarders.

    Yesterday we posted an official statement - as reported above by Scottydawg - on the liveaboard section of the Scuba board forum and also on the Worldwide Dive and Sail website.

    We would like to thank you for your wishes and concern. At present we do not know 100% the extent of the damage to the Oriental Siren. The crew and guests did abandon the vessel a short distance from Layang Layang. They are all safe and uninjured for which we are extremely grateful and proud of our team's emergency management skills in a very difficult situation.

    The boat's owner and Mark of Worldwide Dive and Sail have now arrived in Labuan but are unable to reach Layang Layang as such we do not have a further report at this time about the status of the yacht. Further updates will be forthcoming, in the meantime our team in Thailand is contact guests who were due to travel on the yacht in the coming weeks.

    If you were booked on a trip on the Oriental Siren please contact your agent or the Worldwide Dive and Sail reservations team for more information.

    Thank you again for your concern,
    Best wishes from the Siren Fleet team
     
  8. Quero

    Quero Will be missed

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Phuket, Thailand
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    ** MOD POST: **

    Thread move to Malaysia forum.
     
  9. capt539

    capt539 Captain

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Philippines
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    Here is a story on this I found on a Malaysian Newspaper web site dated June 11: Tourists return home after high-sea rescue


    [h=1]Tourists return home after high-sea rescue[/h] KOTA KINABALU: The crew and international tourists who were rescued after their luxury yacht sank off Layang Layang island three days ago have returned home.
    “The 14 tourists and 12 crewmen took a commercial flight out of Labuan to KL International Airport on Saturday evening and flew back to their respective countries,” local agent Manoj Bullah said.
    The 26 who were on board the Oriental Siren, which was on a 10-day diving safari, abandoned the yacht and boarded motorised rafts before it sank off the island, some 136 nautical miles off Labuan in bad weather on June 7.
    [​IMG] One for the album: The tourists and crew posing for a picture before boarding the Royal Malaysian Air Force plane.
    They were rescued by the navy’s KD Ganas vessel.
    They spent the night there and were flown to Labuan by the Royal Malaysian Air Force the next day.
    Bullah said there was no casualty among the crew or the group of tourists comprising seven British nationals, four Americans, two Japanese and a Dutch.
    He said their passports were saved as these were put in a survival bag and was kept by the yacht’s captain.
    The crew returned to Thailand.
     
  10. DARK07

    DARK07 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Sabah, Borneo
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    I don't want to speculate on what the protocol is for determining how safe it is/was to head out to sea that particular week and who made the decision to do so, but it had been god awful weather wise in Labuan and the surrounding areas around North Borneo.

    I saw the live aboard in Labuan parked at the old jetty in downtown Labuan and was surprised when I heard they were heading out to Layang Layang.

    But the weather was already bad, but made worse by some freakish weather the past 10 days or so...crazy winds and extremely dangerous conditions to be going out to sea at this period in time. There was hot weather whilst they were docked in Labuan for a couple of days but the day they decided to head out was really just a bad bad time to be going out to sea.

    Anyways, glad everyone is safe, but seriously, what was the captain of the boat thinking going out in such bad weather? It was GOD AWFUL weather to be heading out to sea in the first place! They were very lucky they were as close as they were to Layang Layang or it could have been a very different end to this story.

    It was typhoon/gale like winds over here at the moment and not weather to be taking live aboards out to sea with.


    Goodness........
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
  11. maria munn

    maria munn Angel Fish

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    I can't believe that this has happened again .... but thank goodness that everyone is safe and that the Royal Malaysian Air Force could help.

    Surely, something has to be learnt from this? 3 boats from the same company ....

    I still can't forget being so scared whilst leading a trip last January in Raja Ampat during a bad storm. We were only 10 minutes from safety at Kri Island and Mioskon, but for some reason the decision was made to sail to Batanta some 4 hours away through the night with no signal. 4 hours was a long time, and I am still waiting for an answer from that ....

    I can't imagine what these guests were feeling .... but thank the Lord that everyone is safe and on their way home .... That is the important thing ...
     
  12. gee13

    gee13 Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Perth, West Australia and Bali
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    This was due to bad weather from what I read. Apart from that its a testament to how good the emergency management is at the Siren Fleet as no one was hurt and everyone was safely transferred. Its rather unfortunate, and has happened to other boats from other companies of course. A long crossing to the Spratlys is always frought with danger.
     
  13. DARK07

    DARK07 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Sabah, Borneo
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    1. Any crossing across any ocean during especially bad weather is silly especially in most liveaboards.
    2. It isn't all that long a trip from Labuan to the Spartlys. It just depends on what kind of boat or ship you choose to use for the trip.
    3. Nobody seems to be bringing up the issue of why they even bothered going out to sea when it was very obvious the weather conditions were poor and warnings were issued by the authorities. As I stated earlier, they were VERY VERY lucky to be as close as they were to Layang Layang. Anyone out here on the West Coast of Borneo would tell you it was a stupid idea to head out to see at this point in time as the gale force winds and bad weather has been really bad the past 10 days and still is even today.

    This should be a lesson in respecting the South China Sea and not so much on the management and evacuation of the passengers and staff. They were either going to get rescued or not and did. But nobody seems to be questioning the rational of the captain in proceeding on when he should have turned back once the weather turned...before they started taking on water.

    ---------- Post added ----------

    The reason the owners can't reach Layang-Layang now is because nobody is silly enough to be going out to sea with the weather conditions being what they are in the first place. And if you wanted to get to Layang-Layang, you hop on a flight from Kinabalu and not Labuan anyways, that is, if they are flying this week.
     
  14. gee13

    gee13 Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Perth, West Australia and Bali
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    Maybe its relative point but I consider 300km crossing to be not a short one...its a good long overnight trip in a boat like the Oriental Siren with a max speed of only 10 knots... Perhaps to some 500km is still short...for an army speedboat perhaps... its just semantics I guess.
     
  15. DARK07

    DARK07 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Sabah, Borneo
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    Which brings us back to my point..why go out and carry on going with such a terrible storm and gale force winds? That's the point I was trying to make....
     
  16. gee13

    gee13 Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Perth, West Australia and Bali
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    Yes thats a fair point, but you also said the crossing is not a long one (pt 2)

    Anyway yes it would be curious to find out why the decision was made in the event of the bad weather forecast.. I hear this time of year is the better time seasonwise for layang2..was this a fairly 'untypical' occurence
     
  17. Zippsy

    Zippsy Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: White Manta Diving
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    Are you saying that the weather was bad in Labuan for 10 days before the 6 June departure?? I can not speak to Labuan but the seas between Kota Kinabalu (only 70 miles / 115km up the coast) and Layang Layang as well as around the south Spratlys was ideal until at least 1 June. The White Manta did the crossing back to KK then and the seas were very calm.
     
  18. DARK07

    DARK07 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Sabah, Borneo
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    Honestly, the weather is so screwed up these day's out here (i have noticed the wet/dry seasons are not consistent anymore since 2004), it's hard to tell when the good seasons are anymore.

    I don't think we have had an actual dry season/dry spell for anything longer than 2-3 weeks at the most this year....but yes, it was freakish weather last week though it had been hot and dry in Labuan though it was pissing with rain and strong winds in sabah and sarawak..winds were essentially blowing much of the storms away from the island the week the liveaboard docked in Labuan..things did change though I am not sure where the weather front came from that they got caught in and which also hit Labuan hard.

    The winds were gale force type..

    ---------- Post added ----------

    The weather in Sabah was god awful after the harvest festival. Labuan didn't get hit with any of the storms sabah/sarawak until after tuesday, 5th June...big storm hit Labuan/Sabah on the night of the 6th along with that gale force wind conditions I talked about.
     
  19. Searcaigh

    Searcaigh Moderator Staff Member

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    Location: Dubai, UAE
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    One of my friends who lives in Brazil has two US friends who were on this trip and has sent me an e-mail with a long letter written by one of them that has been sent to "Undercurrent"

    I am not going to post this letter because I don't own it, but after reading it, it is obvious they should not have sailed at all. The previous days check dives were a series of disasters with poor crew abilities to put the divers on a wreck from the smaller tenders.

    During the abandon ship procedures the emergency rafts inflated upside down and it took some time to right them.

    Both rafts were separated and one reached Layang Layang before the other with some of the survivors pleading for the navy, who were more interested in seeing their passports, to go and find the other boat. By the time the navy started to sail out, the second lot of survivors arrived, nobody was rescued by the navy despite what the press say.

    Personally I have never done liveaboard trips for more than 4 days in Thailand and here in UAE up to Musandam, although I previously worked on a DSV back in the 80s spending a month at a time at sea and experienced one major storm in the Irish Sea when a fishing boat sank and we were involved in the SAR to recover survivors. The DSV I worked on though was large vessel but it was still a scary experience.

    I think that the liveaboard sector of industry is going suffer because of this recent disaster, thank God everyone survived, but it could have been very different.
     
  20. jklassy

    jklassy Single Diver

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    Having been on one of the Siren boats out of Komodo, I know how poorly they handle a crisis and how they allow inexperienced divers to dive in conditions that not even experienced divers should be in. I am absolutely not at all surprised that they've sunk two boats in the last six months. All divers should ask themselves how 'tragedy' strikes one company twice in such a short period of time, but perhaps never to other companies!

    ---------- Post added ----------

    WWDS is by far the most disorganized company I have ever had the misfortune of diving with. Anyone who thinks this is anything but a preventable tragedy is gravely mistaken. It is only a matter of time before their "bad luck" kills someone.
     

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