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Whaleshark harassment incident report | Update

Hereby a copy of the incident report that was compiled on behalf of the members of the dive professionals network. The incident refers to the viral video posted on the dive professionals network depicting diver harassing a whale shark in Cenderawasih Bay - Papua - Indonesia. The video which reached more than 810,000 people was viewed 343,121 times and was commented on by thousands. The video ultimately lead to the identification and prosecution of involved parties.

The dive professional community outrage was palpable, and after the support of fans who diligently helped in the gathering of evidence. A DIVE PRO INCIDENT REPORT was filed and compiled.

The Video - Evidence

Here below a copy of the report, also detailing our recommendations for the relevant authorities, companies and brands involved.


INCIDENT REPORT: #WhalesharkHarassment

CASE: 2018IND1

INVOLVED PARTIES:
Although on different threads the names of the supposed culprits are mentioned.
DIVE PROFESSIONALS does not release the names during an ongoing case.

SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE:

After having received an incident report with a video which showed behavior underwater unbecoming of a dive professional; steps were undertaken to identify the parties involved.

After identification of the responsible parties, our investigations uncovered the following:

The operator:

Has on several occasions received complaints about it’s boat crews being unable to exercise authority on the groups they accompany on their charters. Going back to 2017.

We have also received new evidence depicting their dive crew manhandling marine animals underwater.

Initial investigations seem to indicate they offer PADI and SSI courses on their cruises, but we believe they are working with freelancers and as such are not registered members.

The operator has issued a public statement (see attached) in a letter we received yesterday. The letter blames the customers involved in the incident, and summing it up as an isolated incident.

The pro diver:

Photo and video material provided indicate a total lack in underwater etiquette. A clear violation of set standards by diving organizations with regards to the treatment of underwater fauna and flora.

Above said material also proves that the video incident is not an isolated event, some footage depicting this behavior goes back to 2009.

Initial investigations and reports received through various sources, have revealed that the pro diver in question profiles himself as a PADI member and POSSI – CMAS instructor member.
some information has since been deleted from the pro diver’s public profile.

The incident:

The video evidence shows a dive professional and his immediate group member hang onto a whale shark, clearly a violation of the commonly known handling rules/protocol of marine animals for pro divers.
Results and fallout:

The whale shark in question survived this ordeal, without too much lasting damage, however possibly because of the usage of gloves the whale shark could suffer from microbial attacks at a later date.

The fallout and response from our community of serious and professional divers has been one of general consternation and shock.

Confirmed sources have revealed that 4 individuals have been detained by the authorities under the watchful eye of Indonesian Minister of Fisheries, her excellency Susi Pudjiastuti on charges of harassing wildlife.
This was reported today via Indonesian news outlet Line Today: https://today.line.me/ID/pc/article/x1j0ne

COURSE OF ACTION

This report including evidence materials has been sent to the following parties for action:

  1. POSSI: http://www.possi.or.id
  2. PADI : https://www.padi.com
  3. SSI : https://www.divessi.com
  4. CMAS : http://www.cmas.org
  5. Indonesian Minister of Fisheries

    We accord the above mentioned companies and organizations 15 days to acknowledge receipt, before further action is instigated.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

As a network of professional divers intent on quality and professionalism, we have no other mandate than the one accorded to us by our members. It is also solely in that capacity that we can act.  Therefore, after due deliberation within our community; we propose a set of ‘recommendations’. The following recommendations after reviewing arguments, and evidence thoroughly is what our panel deems to be a sensible ‘solution’.

We deem that both the operator and diver bear equal responsibility in the case, based on the evidence provided. The operator for failing in enforcement of their standards and procedures. The pro diver for his obvious lack in respect for marine animals, and seemingly a lack in knowledge.

In conclusion thereof we propose:

  1. Both the operator and the pro diver to be fined an amount deemed reasonable to local standards. This fine to be used as to either support or instigate a marine conservation effort in the affected area. If there is no local not for profit organization that protects the underwater environment, it’s flora and fauna. Then this is to be a priority project.

  2. We recommend that both the operator and diver undergo a temporary suspension pending a re-training required for reactivation with their respective training agencies.

  3. The operator is to submit a response on this report depicting which steps will be taken within the operation, as to remedy to these operational flaws in the future.

The updated report has been sent to above mentioned parties today August 14, 2018.
Interested parties will be kept informed of proceedings on our official website https://www.thediveprofessional.org

On behalf of the dive professionals network and its members,

We would like to thank all professionals, members, fans and divers alike, who helped us in solving this case.

Safe diving. 

Henri Hemmerechts
Coordinator
THE DIVE PROFESSIONAL .ORG

Copyright

© THEDIVEPROFESSIONAL | BLACKLIST

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Comments 3

miroslavkaraicic on Tuesday, 14 August 2018 21:46

Very good, actions have to be taken.

Very good, actions have to be taken.
THEOCEANROAMER on Wednesday, 15 August 2018 17:31

UPDATE #whalesharkharassment
All mails with reports have been sent to relevant authorities.
Initial contact results:
Mail sent to operator of the vessel.
POSSI : Indonesian Diving Federation part of the CMAS.
The website as is their communication is offline, so only sent to CMAS ?
PADI: great website, with easy access to relevant departments, mail sent to Asia & Headoffice QA. confirmation of receipt received. #kudos
SSI: no possibility to send report through mail, as there's only a contact form. When asked on their FB page for the email for reporting incidents, the other side just read, but stayed silent. Since we had Mr. Watzig's direct e-mail (he's the CEO) we sent it there.? (update: they have confirmed receipt)
Report was also sent to the Indonesian Minister of Fisheries who has been monitoring the case.
... now we wait (for max. 15 days)

UPDATE #whalesharkharassment All mails with reports have been sent to relevant authorities. Initial contact results: Mail sent to operator of the vessel. POSSI : Indonesian Diving Federation part of the CMAS. The website as is their communication is offline, so only sent to CMAS ? PADI: great website, with easy access to relevant departments, mail sent to Asia & Headoffice QA. confirmation of receipt received. #kudos SSI: no possibility to send report through mail, as there's only a contact form. When asked on their FB page for the email for reporting incidents, the other side just read, but stayed silent. Since we had Mr. Watzig's direct e-mail (he's the CEO) we sent it there.? (update: they have confirmed receipt) Report was also sent to the Indonesian Minister of Fisheries who has been monitoring the case. ... now we wait (for max. 15 days)
Admin on Monday, 20 August 2018 20:27
UPDATE

UPDATE:
We have received word from both PADI and SSI stating that these are not members of their organization.
(as we expected, one was acting as a PADI PRO)
PADI seemingly is content with the fact they got arrested by local authorities. And believes the operator has acted accordingly.
We are unable to reach POSSI (Indo | CMAS) and our e-mail has gone unanswered by CMAS so far.
The operator also has not responded yet. More info soon

UPDATE: We have received word from both PADI and SSI stating that these are not members of their organization. (as we expected, one was acting as a PADI PRO) PADI seemingly is content with the fact they got arrested by local authorities. And believes the operator has acted accordingly. We are unable to reach POSSI (Indo | CMAS) and our e-mail has gone unanswered by CMAS so far. The operator also has not responded yet. More info soon
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