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SiamSailor 03-14-2010 12:55 AM

Need Help In Taking Action Against A Dangerous Captain


Dear Readers,

The internet can be a powerful tool for "outing" bad business practices. It can also be abused by the unscrupulous. Before accepting the post below at face value, we encourage you to read the entire thread. In doing so, you may be reminded that there is often more to a story than a strictly one-sided account would suggest.

We have not heard back from the O.P. since this additional information was presented. We would welcome further clarification.

Thanks go to several Sailnet members, who took time to scratch a bit deeper.

Dear All,


I have just returned from a charter trip to some amazing islands in the Andaman sea with Dieter Dongphrajan onboard his boat Nakamal.

The destination was great, but the captain was a real danger to our lives! As soon as we got far enough from port he started to drink openly and was drunk all of the time from beginning till we all (5 total) left via airplane in fear of going to jail or getting killed through his crazy attitude.

Since we were aboard he encouraged divers to go beyond their limits and think of Nitrogen Narcosis as an alternative to LSD.:puke

Took an in experienced diver to over 40m+ and left him there alone!

Was drunk at thee helm with our 5 lives in his hands, the amount of times we nearly hit something was amazing. He was to drunk (and night blind) to see a huge marker buoy in a busy harbor, we missed it by a few feet!

He told us how he loves to Dive on LSD

He lied to the Authorities about his EPIRB giving false details and removing the "use by date" the EPIRB is 7 years out of date! We made a 450 mile crossing coming across only one other vessel with no EPIRB and no other safety devices other than 3$ life jackets and a ring on a rope. Dieter Dongphrajan claims to be a registered captain with a license but he doesn't know how to use an SSB, doesn’t know how to use flares (which were also nearly a decade out of date), had never used the short wave before and told us that if the boat was to sink that all 7 of us could get in his tender. The tender was tied to the back of the boat and took nearly 10 minutes to release!:confused:

We all left the charter after only 3 days at our destination with this mad man, he was violent, rude, offensive and drunk the whole time. He broke a number of laws while we were onboard and we all decided that paying over 500 U.S.D to fly home and cut our charter short by over a week was the safest thing to do.

We are all in the process of doing what we can to bring this man to justice.

PLEASE help us to bring this man in front of the correct governing body responsible for issuing a captains license. He also claims to be a SCUBA course director and we have reported him to PADI for further investigation.

Dieter Dongphrajan and his boat Nakamal are based in Thailand, we will of course be talking to the police, immigration and coastguard here, but what we believe is that his license must be investigated as he is risking peoples lives at sea and is totally incapable and has almost no sailing ability.

Any assistance would be most appreciated by all of us.

Best Regards,

Zanshin 03-14-2010 01:15 AM

Apart from having had a terrible experience and wanting to spread the bad news, what do you think an internet forum can actually do; what sort of assistance do you expect?

SiamSailor 03-14-2010 01:23 AM

Dear Zanshin,

As mentioned I would like to know the name of the governing body or institution that is responsible for issuing a captains license. For example is it an international body or would it depend on the country that the captain is based out of?

I would also appreciate any feedback with regards to how one would reprimand such an individual by approaching the community, who
I am sure agree in that this kind of "captain" can not be allowed to risk others lives.

It is the collective responsibility of those of us who care enough about others to do something about people like this, as I am sure you would agree.


tager 03-14-2010 04:26 AM

Personal attack in violation of forum rules

SiamSailor 03-14-2010 04:46 AM

Tager you seem to think this is acceptable behavior, that it should go unpunished and that accepting a charter and risking guests lives is not a problem, am I right?

I asked for advise from professional sailors that care about their lifestyle and the negative impact that lunatics like Dieter Dongphrajan have on sailing in general.

sailingdog 03-14-2010 07:47 AM

Unfortunately, that is tager for you?

Siam— Do you have any documentation or evidence of his behavior. In most cases, without some sort of corroboration, it will likely be your word against his. I'd also point out that Thailand, unlike say the United States or Europe, is far more likely to have enforcement and licensing issues. Corruption, nepotism, and the like are far more common in third world countries. Even with corroborating evidence, there is a good chance nothing will be done.

I'd point out that if you paid for the charter via credit card, you might be able to do something about it financially by asking for a credit back. However, beyond that, unless you have far greater resources than just this internet forum, there is little else you're likely to be able to do.

PorFin 03-14-2010 07:55 AM


Easy there, buddy... Don't take it personally, it was just a little teasing to lighten things up a bit. ;)

To your questions -- it's hard to know how to answer the big ones with the info you provided. You never indicated:

A. What nationality the skipper was (I'm guessing that with a name like "Dieter" he's not Thai, but I could be wrong)? They might be interested in the non-martime behavior, though I'd bet against it.

B. Under what country's flag does the ship sail? They might be interested in hearing about the overall condition of the ship -- depending on the country.

C. Which country issued Dieter his Captain's license? They might be interested in the behavior of the Captain -- again depending on the country.

Take this for what its worth -- advice on an internet forum from a guy who's never been to Thailand:

o Start with the Thai authorities. If you are not a local, begin with the Tourism folks. They will probably be more sympathetic to your stories than the local Police/Coast Guard/etc. Dead tourists make their jobs harder.

o Talk to your own government. If your country has a decent relathionship with Thailand, they may find some traction through their Embassy in Bangkok. Dead tourists are not a good thing for either side.

o As to the state of the safety gear aboard, I'm sure that the Thai equivalent of a Coast Guard or Maritime Police may be able to answer your questions better than any of us could. For all we know, the conditions you relate could be perfectly acceptable under local Thai laws/regulations/etc.

I wish you luck, but I'm not optimistic about your chances for a moral victory.

xort 03-14-2010 08:07 AM

contrary to the nattering nabobs of negativism who attacked you here, I think posting here is a good idea. Word of mouth can have an effect.

and do follow up with contacting the Thai authorities. He could be operating illegally and they will boot him out.

Did he supply a certificate of insurance for you? Contact the insur co.

Definitely follow up with his flagged country

LandLocked66c 03-14-2010 08:11 AM

Capt. Ron from Hell!

MorganPaul 03-14-2010 08:36 AM

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