With this statement, Undersea Hunter would like to provide information about an incident that took place recently at Cocos Island on April 28, 2018. The incident took place with another liveaboard operator, and the following is the information we received directly from them:
At the end of a dive at the surface, one of the divers surfaced separately from the rest of the group – but still visible to the crew who were picking up the other passengers. While this man was waiting to be picked up, a tiger shark approached him, swam around him, and got close enough to bite his BC. The experienced diver dumped his gear and swam slowly towards the nearest island, the entire time being observed by the crew. After swimming for a few minutes, he reached the island and the inflatable arrived to pick him up.
The diver asserts that this was an encounter, rather than an attack. Several days later we recovered the dive gear and the BC, which had several tears that we suspect were caused by an inquisitive test bite.
Since December of 2017, Undersea Hunter has taken all precautions to avoid any kind of incident with the sharks at Cocos. We have implemented several new procedures to enhance the safety of all of our passengers, including: having all of our divers enter and exit the water together; increased training for our dive guides; equipping our dive guides with especially constructed aluminum sticks that can deter close encounters if necessary. Prior to December 2017, the Cocos Island National Parks Department did not allow the use of any kind of defense stick, and furthermore in the history of diving at Cocos Island there had never been any kind of shark incident.
We strongly believe that by following the above procedures, any kind of serious incident with sharks can be avoided. This is also a reminder to all visitors to Cocos Island how important it is to follow the safety guidelines of dive guides at all times.