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August 2010    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 36, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Dive Kararu and the Seahorse Break Ties, Exchange Words, Offer Deals

from the August, 2010 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Last December Kararu Dive Voyages switched from using the MSY Cheng Ho to the MSY Seahorse for liveaboard diving in Indonesia. But in their recent Internet newsletters, the two announced their separation, each with acrimony.

Kararu wrote, “Due to severe contractual breaches from PT. Indo Cruises, the owner of the Seahorse, combined with ongoing maintenance issues with the vessel itself, Kararu has had no choice but to cancel our management contract with the Seahorse … we have no further dealings with [it] whatsoever.” The Seahorse’s written response: “As a result of the termination of the agreement between the Seahorse and Kararu, we have seen some comments written in a newsletter that give the impression we are having ‘maintenance issues.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. . . Anyone who has sailed with us will back up the quality and service of our operation over the past three years.”

It’s the Internet version of awkwardly sitting at the dinner table of a married couple and watching them squabble bitterly.

We contacted both Dive Kararu and the Seahorse. Stein Zahl, Kararu’s managing director, was tight-lipped. “The owner of the Seahorse repeatedly breached his contract with us, and the only sensible thing to do was to terminate the contract with immediate effect.”

Seahorse owner Txus Reiriz said, “Too many disappointing things happened since the beginning.” One problem was Kararu announced it would start using the Seahorse for its own charters, which, says Reiriz, was news to him. “We never gave away the management or operation of the Seahorse but [planned] to sell our own dives, in collaboration with Kararu. Before this, the Seahorse was the best liveaboard vessel. Now they’re sending newsletters trying to damage her reputation and our clients are asking what was going on. So we decided to publish our newsletter announcing the end of the agreement.”

The split does have a silver lining for divers bound for Indonesia. Single divers who had had to share or pay a premium for single occupancy can now book one of the six new single cabins on the Cheng Ho, or the Sea Safari VII, which Kararu is using for Raja Ampat cruises. And the Seahorse is offering divers who were booked “by those now spreading bad news about us” a 50 percent discount for 2010 and 2011 cruises. Reiriz says any previously booked diver who experiences inconvenient maintenance issues on board will get a total refund.

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