Tourist Injured in Gizo Boat Collision

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

GIZO, Solomon Islands – Several apologies were issued to a group of yachters after a boat collision in Gizo where four tourists were shaken up and one yachter was injured.

The watercraft accident took place last Friday, when two cruising yachts that were participating in a rally booked a dive with Dive Gizo for four yachts in total. As they were being transferred by Dive Gizo, the boat ran over another water craft, causing it to sink. The four tourists were alarmed and sustained bruises. One tourist sustained head and back injuries.

According to Hans Mergozzi , the owner of Sanbis Resort and Solomon Connect Ltd, the tourists were part of a group from the Island Cruising Association, which has over 1,400 yacht members. He expressed regret over the incident, not just because of the boat accident, but because some of the tourists were scared off by Dive Gizo owner, Danny Kennedy.

According to Mergozzi, the Cruising Association members were treated badly by Kennedy and had to endure the frightening accident with another boat, which he explains “temporarily sunk.”

“No apologies were offered and one of the yachters was all shaken up – didn’t want to go diving after that incident and Dive Gizo still wanted to charge the poor tourist,” said Mergozzi, adding that miraculously, no one was seriously hurt or killed. “This is unacceptable; we should not scare tourists away.”

The head of the Island Cruising Association, John Martin, also expressed remorse over the accident and called it an unfortunate incident. He added that the Dive Gizo driver “was inadequately trained and failed to take even rudimentary evasive action.”

In addition to the boating crash, Martin claims another participant in the rally was assaulted by the manager of Dive Gizo.

“The tourist had asked for his gas tanks to be filled, but his tanks were thrown out onto the road amid a tirade of abuse and offensive language,” he said. “I would hope that the (Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau) SIVB would look seriously into this operation. Dive Gizo, as this type of unprofessional activity will do serious harm to the reputation of the Solomon Islands as a destination for cruisers and other tourism and particularly the Western Provinces.”

When asked about the incident, Kennedy confirmed that the accident took place, but alleges Mergozzi’s accusations are inaccurate.

“Our dive boat was involved in an incident, with four people inside. There is considerable debate as to whom was at fault and the matter is with the police, so it would not appropriate to comment on that,” he contended.

Regarding the gas tank incident, Kennedy said he put the tanks outside the premises so the individual would leave the shop. He said that what the individual had asked him to do was unsafe, which is why he had asked the patron to leave.

Regardless of whose fault this incident was, innocent people were affected by the boating accident. Even when an at sea accident does not cause physical injuries, it can lead a victim to suffer trauma and mental anguish, which is considered a personal injury.

Our maritime attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience representing boat accident claims and fight on behalf of our clients to ensure they obtain the full extent of the benefits they deserve, including medical treatment and money damages. To discuss your watercraft accident, turn to our boat accident admiralty lawyers today for a free consultation.