Act prudently: Don't book with Aggressor boats until the facts are clear...
Jeremy Robinson - Divemaster/Veterinarian
January 30, 2004 at 18:32:26
Happy to say, this is also my first post here at Scuba Forum, which I also just found. But unlike Colin Miller, my impression is quite favorable. The site offers a diversity of mostly well-stated opinions about issues that are often ignored elsewhere. And it's all on-topic and flames are the exception rather than the rule. INCREDIBLE! For that, I commend Scuba Forum and everyone participating in the discussions.
OK, let me get into it. I must confess that I'm somewhat puzzled as to why Colin feels compelled to preface his remarks with a cheap shot about Scuba Forum and the people who post at the site. Could it be that Colin's "few folks making good points" are the ones that reflect his own personal "I love Aggressor" opinions and everyone else is "slagging"?
Whatever the reason behind his negative comments, Colin's description of people piling on seems to have more to do with his own attitude than the reality of this particular forum (I haven't really studied any of the other discussions yet). The most recent comment critical of the Aggressor is dated September 17. Since then, I count three comments including Colin's all in support of the Aggressor company. Four months without any criticism whatsoever of the Aggressor operation yet Colin is whining about "...a large number of people slagging anybody who dares to disagree."
So just to lend a bit of substance to Colin's paranoid comment, and because I fully agree with those who have criticized Aggressor management for ignoring safety requirements, let me jump in with some good old-fashioned "slagging" of my own.
1. Leaving port without required emergency safety equipment is a serious crime that cannot, and should not, be ignored nor glossed over with anecdotal comments about "my happy trip a couple of years ago on the Aggressor..." That seems to be the standard rebuttal from Aggressor apologists. But it's not about what happens when everything goes right. It's about how the captain, crew and company management respond when things go wrong.
2. There is no doubt the people who operate the Galapagos Aggressor did everything wrong and endangered the lives of their passengers. Such conduct is inexcusable and as I've already stated, it is negligent and therefore criminal. To make the situation even worse, Hasson got nasty with people who were understandably upset after a horrible experience that could have turned deadly.
3. Travel insurance is not the solution to criminal conduct by commercial passenger boat operators. PERIOD.
4. Scuba diving boat operators are responsible for taking every precaution to ensure that drift divers are not lost at sea. According to CDNN, Hasson promoted the Aggressor Fleet as the "safer liveaboards" because of his decision to equip drift divers with personal EPIRB transponders and Aggressor crew with directional finders. I join Phil Tate in asking why the two divers who went missing on a Cocos Aggressor drift dive were not equipped with EPIRB transponders as promised?
5. As a final comment, I wish to respond to Colin and anyone else promoting a business-as-usual response to fatal diving accidents because "...very few people (if any) know what really happened..." While certain boat owners obviously share your conviction that ignorance equals trust, until such time as the details of these accidents become clear, I can assure you, I will act prudently and not book a trip aboard the Cocos Aggressor, the Galapagos Aggressor or any other boat that flies the Aggressor Fleet flag.
Thanks to Scuba Forum, my informed opinion is that I am one of many active dive travelers who prefers to error on the side of caution with regard to entrusting boat operators with my life and the lives of my loved ones.