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June 2022    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 37, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Scuba Scene Another Liveaboard Burns

with conflicting perceptions of the aftermath

from the June, 2022 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Fire aboard a vessel at sea is a terrifying experience, as Ahmed Fadel, former manager of MY Suzanna (also known as a Red Sea Aggressor), knows only too well. He remembers the tragic circumstances in 2020 when that vessel went down in a nighttime blaze. One passenger failed to escape and died during the ensuing chaos of evacuation (Undercurrent January 2020).

Fadel is one of the most knowledgeable Red Sea dive guides and has written guide books, and he learned from the experience of the fire. When he teamed up with Dr. Elke Bojanowski, an expert on oceanic white-tip sharks, to manage a liveaboard venture, fire prevention and emergency drills were uppermost in his mind.

The steel-hulled MY Scuba Scene had been rebuilt and refitted. It was like a brand-new vessel, promising the utmost luxury for its passengers. The team of Fadel and Bojanowski promised the best Red Sea diving, so the trips were fully booked right from the beginning. Fadel instigated fire safety and emergency evacuation drills as soon as the vessel left port. He wasn't going to have a repeat of the tragedy he had witnessed on MY Suzanna.

On the morning of April 19, 2022, Scuba Scene departed Hurghada with a full complement of passengers. As was usual, all passengers were required to take part in an emergency fire safety drill before breakfast.

Passenger Bob Latif (London, UK) was among them. He wrote to Undercurrent, "I noticed some smoke coming from the engine room, below decks. Initially, I was not worried. Many a boat spews diesel from cold engines, and it was a windy day, so I thought the wind was blowing back the exhaust. During the practice fire drill, we jokingly commented how the crew had made it extra-realistic with the smoke."...

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