A Malaysian life insurance CEO has accused the Scuba Nation Diving Centre in Preah Sihanouk province of leaving him alone at sea while on a snorkelling trip last month off Koh Rong Sanloem Island.
Johnson Chai, the CEO of Cambodia Life Insurance Plc (Camlife), reported the company to the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).
Chai told The Post that he and his friend signed up with a Scuba Nation PADI-certified instructor named Juan Pierre Hoffman on October 30.
“At the second snorkelling spot, I was left alone after I was dropped off the boat with no information. I was all by myself for 30 minutes and I was panicked and freaking out in the sea because I do not swim at all and had made that known to the operator before I signed up,” he wrote.
Chai said the life jacket had only one working buckle and he had to hold on to it hard. He said he cramped up due to anxiety.
“To make matters worse, when the boat returned, I was greeted arrogantly by Juan Pierre who did not feel a bit sorry for his irresponsibility. I questioned him about my safety and he was so obnoxious to reply that I should be OK with my life jacket,” he wrote.
Chai said he reported the experience to the owner of Scuba Nation. He said the owner, whom he identified only by his first name Kelvin, responded promptly but in a very light manner without taking responsibility, although he casually apologised.
“This is a very serious matter and I urge PADI to evaluate the situation and take stern action against Juan Pierre Hoffmann if he is licensed by PADI. If he’s not, then he deceived us,” he wrote.
He said he hopes to hear from PADI on the assessment of this incident and the actions to be taken against Hoffman and Scuba Nation.
Chai said he hopes this unfortunate experience will not happen to another person. He also said that as a resident of Cambodia he has an obligation to safeguard the tourism industry.
Scuba Nation Diving Centre Cambodia did not answer The Post’s phone calls for comment, but in a text message it said: “Please send email to us, we will reply. Happy to help you. Thanks.”
The Post sent questions via email to the firm, but it did not reply.
Scuba Nation advertises itself as Cambodia’s premier diving provider.
Its website said: “[We] have been safely satisfying the scuba diving needs of tourists, ex-pats, embassy personnel and locals since 2002. As the first PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre in Cambodia, Scuba Nation has accommodated thousands of beginning and experienced divers from hundreds of countries.”