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Sri Lanka Aggressor Problems

Discussion in 'Aggressor Adventures' started by Calvin Tang, Dec 26, 2016.

  1. ahab dent

    ahab dent New

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Zürich, Switzerland
    Hi everyone! Im a regular visitor here but since I also booked a tour on the now infamous Sri Lanka Aggressor in April, I've decided to contribute.
    There is nothing I can do about my tour in April exept wait and hope that things are turning out good. My insurance would not cover anything. My travel-agency contacted Aggressor last Friday and this was their (sales manager from Aggressor) reply:


    Thanks for your email. I fully understand your concerns when reading something like that. The Sri Lanka Aggressor dealt with the issues during their dry-dock time between mid-December until the end of January and started operations anew on January 28th. According to the latest information I have since returning from three European tradeshows just a couple of days ago, the future charters are running according to schedule. The main concerns that many guests have had was in regards to the license/permit to swim with the whales but that has been resolved. The following is a message, dated January 28, from the yacht owner, who still is on location in Sri Lanka to make sure things run smooth and as scheduled and since he is confident the yacht will be on schedule for your client's charter in April, there should be no reason to cancel or move it.

    I met with the Sri Lankan Minister of Wildlife today after a meeting he had with the Wildlife Department regarding the renewal of license and it was confirmed to me by the Minister that our Swimming/Snorkeling with whales license will be renewed for 2017.

    I will inform you of any other news once I receive them, if any.

    What would you make of this? I have never been on a tour with Aggressor but they have a reputation to be reliable.


    Last edited: Feb 13, 2017
  2. Calvin Tang

    Calvin Tang Photographer

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Pacific Northwest USA
    Just to close the loop on my personal saga with the Sri Lanka Aggressor (I'm the one who originally started this thread, trying in vain to find accurate information on my soon-to-be dive trip)...

    My buddy and I ended up deciding that money, any amount of it, is not worth risking our personal safety. Setting aside for a moment the very high potential of just a crappy dive trip, or one that midway through turns into a jungle trek, I do not feel that the powers that be at the Aggressor were truthful or transparent in their dealings or communications to us or Bluewater Travel, who we bought the two back to back trips through.

    In the end one of our two weeks was resold, and so we ate it on 100% of the other trip (in total about $4,000). Yes, a part of me thought at the time that I was throwing away hard earned money, but I also just thought about the numerous bits of information that turned out to be completely misleading or outright untrue that had been spoon-fed to us for months, and I just decided that I have too many great dive trips ahead of me in this lifetime to wager it all on this one disaster of a liveaboard operation. Finally, what's the sense in throwing good money after bad?

    So, fast forward to today, when I received news of the trips that we walked away from. Now I didn't receive the information directly so consider these as unverified reports as of yet, but the word is that there were extremely rough seas and a Sri Lanka Aggressor dive boat reportedly capsized. People were hurt. Housings and other gear were lost. Then on top of it guests trying to leave the country afterward were detained by Sri Lanka Customs for 48 hours due to a "permit issue".


    Hopefully we will hear directly from one of the guests on the recent trips soon, and I sincerely hope that they are all back home, safe and sound at this point.
  3. Rainer

    Rainer DIR Practitioner

    Wife and I almost jumped on the first week trip through Bluewater Travel, but based on this thread and related issues, ended up not taking the spots. Glad to hear we made the right call. So sorry you're out the money, but it sounds like it could have been a lot worse had you gone. What a **** show. If anyone has any more information of the latest trips, please post details.
  4. wahlaoeh

    wahlaoeh Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Singapore
    I’m the buddy of Calvin who also did not go on this trip. And when my friend informed me about the boat capsized problem two days ago after hearing from his friend who was one of the unfortunate guest on that trip, I attempted to contact this guest but was told that he/she would like to remain anonymous as they are still trying to get refunded for their trip. Aggressor has promised to refund them but it’s get a little sketchy as some of them went on the land tours after the accident (happened on the first day) and was told that they have already utilized their facilities/services so those might not be compensated.

    Anyway, this is what the guest has shared with my friend and attached below are screenshots of the capsized dingy. The boat accident happened on the FIRST day of the whale trip. The sea conditions were very rough and the dingy was OVERLOADED with 16 snorkelers. A poor executed decision to land the zodiac in high surge capsized the boat and everything was thrown overboard. 3 people were hurt; one had one of his ear severely severed off, one serious cut to the head and one minor abrasion to back of his leg. Many photographic equipment were lost. The whale trip came to an abrupt halt and the Aggressor sailed back to port and guests were promised full refund then. The guests were unable to leave the boat for 40 hours because the dis-embarkation port is different from the original return one as they need to send the injured to the hospital. Some of the guests went on the land tours arranged by the Aggressor after that and was told later that they will not be fully refunded.

    Anyone know how does this work? Shouldn’t Aggressor be fully responsible for such a horrible event when apparently the mistakes are on them? I’m glad that no one got killed but am sad for fellow divers who have undergone this terrible ordeal and now having to deal further with them for their compensation. unnamed.jpg unnamed1.jpg
  5. ahab dent

    ahab dent New

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Zürich, Switzerland
    Wow that sounds terrible. I definately wouldnt wanna be in one of these zodiacs!

    I just got a call from my travel agency and they told me that Aggressor Sri Lanka is history! They (Aggressor) put an end to the whole project. It seems that this was all too much (obviously) for them.
  6. Rainer

    Rainer DIR Practitioner

    Have people returned home from the trip yet and have any more news?
  7. Rainer

    Rainer DIR Practitioner

    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  8. eytokyo

    eytokyo Registered

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Tokyo
    I had a tentative reservation on the Sri Lanka aggressor but decided not to pay the deposit thanks to all of the info from this board. I was interested in the whale snorkel week in November. Subsequently I received an email from them that they will close operations in Sri Lanka and refund any deposits. I hope all of you get your deposits back.

    Does anybody know of any alternatives for snorkeling with whales in the fall? Recommendations appreciated.
  9. scubafanatic

    scubafanatic Contributor

    Probably a good idea, cut out the cancer before it metastasized across the entire fleet.
  10. Similan9

    Similan9 New

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Nottingham, England
    I work for a reputable UK based dive tour operator and I was on the very first recreational diving charter on the Sri Lanka Aggressor in November (the trips before that were snorkelling only and most were cancelled due to some initial permit issues)
    Our trip was riddled with problems from the outset and it's sad to see that the liveaboard simply hasn't been made viable after all.

    Picking up on some of the previous comments/queries.
    *The day boat operators (the main one being Island Scuba) were very supportive of the Aggressor and hoped for it's success. The owner of Island Scuba was on-board our trip and did his best to ensure it ran smoothly as possible.
    *There are some dive sites that are difficult (often impossible) for day boats to reach due to a combination of distance and conditions so a liveaboard seemed like a good idea in one sense. BUT local wisdom warned that the un-predictable conditions and a relatively short season of calm weather could be a concern and this seems to have proven to be the case.
    *Finally, the boat simply was not fit for purpose. During our trip we were thrown all over the place in swells that I wouldn't consider to be very big, there were pretty serious water leaks and I'm afraid to say that the general organisation and communication was very poor indeed.

    I hope those who have been injured have made/ are making good recovery and that everyone can get their deposits back with no problems.
    Best of luck
    Mat- Dive Worldwide UK

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