Coiba Dive Expeditions to cease Malpelo operations effective January 2018 citing decision by Colombian government to only permit boats operating out of Colombian ports.
Otmar Hanser, Coiba Dive Expeditions, writes:
It is with a heavy heart that we are informing you of our decision to cease our operation to Malpelo effective January 2018.
The Colombian government decided end of last year to change the rules for the permits to Malpelo National Park. From 2018 onwards, only boats operating from Colombian ports will be allowed to visit Malpelo, citing the need to implement and guarantee the national sovereignty of their country as the primary reason for this change.
This undoubtedly changes everything in our operation. The whole operation that we built up over the years, including our crew, logistics, permits and company in Panama as well as a steadily growing clientele, all our efforts and the results of our hard work, energy and love for what we were building up will come to naught in 2018.
We could try to start over by operating from Buenaventura; we also consulted many of our agents and wholesalers if they would continue promoting Malpelo if our operations ran in Buenaventura. We received very helpful feedback, and the general opinion was that the number of visitors to the Park would be greatly reduced due to the restrictions issued by various governments with regards to traveling to Buenaventura.
Another very important consideration for us was the fact that Yemaya and Inula are the only boats that combat illegal fishing in Malpelo. We do that on almost every trip, chasing the poachers out of Malpelo waters and documenting the damage that they cause. As of this writing the Colombian government is not able to impose the holy “national sovereignty” when it comes to the protection of its National Park. Without us, if they do not change their stance, our beloved Malpelo sharks will be without any protection.
After agonizing over this for several months and considering all the arguments, we have taken the hard decision to end our operation. At the moment we do not consider Buenaventura viable as a base for a sustainable and secure operation with international clients.
We will of course operate from Panama for the rest of 2016 and 2017, until our last trip departing on December 24th, 2017.
We have limited spaces left on our trips in 2016 and a big number of our 2017 trips have been sold. So if you want to discover the place on earth with more sharks than any other, you still have a chance! Of course, we would be very happy to see again many of our repeat guests who have kept us company and became our friends in the last 7 years that we have been in operation. Everyone is welcome!
But not everything is bad; in fact, we are looking forward to the future. Very soon we will let you know the destination we will move our boat to. All of you are welcome to join us in our new adventure!
Best wishes and we hope to see you soon on board the Yemaya.