The boat operator responsible for losing four divers – one of whom died – in Malaysia in April has been fined 5,000 Malaysian Ringgits, the equivalent of £938 at the time of writing.
British diver Adrian Chesters, 46, his son Nathen, a 14-year-old Dutch national, French woman Alexia Alexandra Molina, 18, and their instructor, Kristine Grodem, 35, from Norway, went missing after surfacing from a dive near Pulau Tokong Sanggol, off Malaysia’s south-eastern coast, on 6 April 2022.
Ms Grodem was rescued 24 hours later, however, the other divers spent three days adrift before being found in Indonesian waters some 70 miles away. Tragically, 14-year old Nathen died at sea – his body has never been recovered.
Mersing Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Maritime Zone director Khairul Nizam Misran said the sentence had been made against the operator Winter Snow Sdn Bhd, for operating without sufficient crew as required by Malaysian shipping law. A 61-year-old man is reported to have pled guilty to the offence.
The captain had also been arrested at the time after testing positive for methamphetamine, however, there is no indication as to whether or not he was under the influence of the drug during the incident.
‘On April 6, four foreign divers were reported missing while conducting diving training in the waters off Pulau Tokong Sanggol, some nine nautical miles off Tg Leman, Mersing,’ said Khairul. ‘ Three of them were found, while a teenage male diver is still missing. The company’s representative pleaded guilty to committing an offence under Rule 12 of the Boats Rules 1953.’
Khairul went on to remind resort and boat operators to comply with the maritime regulations before carrying out water-based recreational activities. Scuba diving operators have also raised calls for a regulatory body to oversee standards for Malaysian scuba diving in the aftermath of the tragedy.