The not-so Jolly Roger runs aground again

| 09/10/2018 | 65 Comments
Jolly Roger, Cayman News Service

The Jolly Roger runs aground, 9 Oct 2018

(CNS): For the second time in less than a month The Jolly Roger has run aground in the George Town Harbour as a result of the bad weather caused by Hurricane Michael. Grand Cayman’s popular pirate tour boat was grounded Tuesday morning just behind the Lobster Pot, but at the time officials from the Department of Environment said that the weather was still too rough for them to asses what damage, if any, the boat may have caused to marine life in the area but would do so as soon as they were able. However, officials confirmed that they are still investigating the damaged caused by the pleasure boat during the last incident.

DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie said she was unsure why the boat had once again been the cause of potential coral damage.

“Most other vessels moved off the west coast in preparation for the passage of Tropical Storm-Hurricane Michael,” she said. “We don’t know why The Jolly Roger did not.”

Jolly Roger, Cayman News Service

Jolly Roger runs aground

Last month the boat ran aground in the George Town Harbour in the hardpan area just north of the port after coming loose from its moorings during another spell of rough weather. Although the location was largely hard-packed sea bed, there were coral colonies in the area that were crushed.

Boat owners are again being reminded to take the necessary precautions to inspect and secure their vessels during periods of inclement weather.

By Tuesday afternoon Hurricane Michael reached category 3 status and was moving northwards at around 12mph over the eastern Gulf of Mexico, packing winds of more than 120 mph.

Michael is expected to move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area on Wednesday, and then move northeastward across the southeastern United States Wednesday night and Thursday.

Although Michael is now a dangerous hurricane, it poses no threat to Cayman as it passed by the Islands as a tropical storm, though it stirred up some rough seas and the local weather service issued relevant craft warnings.

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Comments (65)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Safe my ass! Deathtrap is more like it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thought you said the reply function had been fixed. Apparently not.

      CNS: I think it has – this comment is a ‘reply’. However, if people are still experiencing problems with comments posted after around 8:45 this morning, please let me know.

  2. Ron Ebanks says:

    Ms .Bodden , thanks for the link , and that article just shows how careless and inexperienced that whole Joly operation is . Which Captain would have his boat / ship under power approaching non motorized cardboard fun boats loaded with KIDS ? That was like operating heavy machinery in a pre-school’s play ground while the kids were playing . Maybe a good Judge should teach them a big lesson too .

  3. Anonymous says:

    You sir have way too much time on your hands. It’s just a faux pirate ship.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Can’t the news media find out who the owner is?

  5. Chris Johnson says:

    John and Ron

    You are dead right. The cruise ships take total advantage of local operators. The latter need get together as a show of force. The cruise ships now have duty free shops on board at Cayman’s expense. Do we need them?NO !,

  6. Anonymous says:

    Don’t worry about the dock being build and destroying the marine environment, by the time the Jolly Roger is done there wont be reef left in the area.

  7. Caymanian.. says:

    They should leave it there.. It looks great! Would be a nice tourist attraction.. 🙂

  8. Anonymous says:

    Anybody knows who owns Jolly Rodger?

  9. Elvis says:

    Oh boy,
    I got married on that boat now look at it.
    Actually come to think of it my marriage is also on the rocks, hmmmm

  10. Anonymous says:

    Again, why did it not take the Trolley Roger with it!?

    • MM says:

      Luckily it didn’t because lots of elderly visitors to this island enjoy and appreciate the Trolley Roger. But, of course, the generations these days care little for the elderly and what activities are available to keep them safely entertained.

  11. Bertie : B says:

    That boat should be hauled out and inspected for its seaworthiness before families are allowed back on board .

    • G. Fawkes says:

      That boat should be doused in gasoline and set alight.

      • Penny for the Guy says:

        What a great idea for this Pirates Week, I can see it now, with fireworks in the background. Maybe we can stuff an effigies of our most infamous politicians in the crows nest.before we torch it?

  12. John Bodden from South Sound says:

    Anybody remember the days when we had people like “Capt” Ertis taking people out on pleasure boat excursions? He owned the boat, but not only did he guide the excursions, dive for the conchs and catch the fish before preparing lunch, he also did the preventative maintenance, repairs, and anything else to ensure that his means of livelihood was ready when he got the next booking, and his guests received a genuine Caymanian experience.

    Today, to be the “Captain” of the Jolly Roger or any of the other numerous boats plying the waters around our shoreline, the only qualification you need is a willingness to do whatever the owner requires of you for a lesser salary than anyone else would. The same goes for a lot of the operators of taxis, tour buses, mobile car washes, landscaping services, cleaning services, security services, etc. etc. that fall in the category of Caymanian-owned small businesses.

    For most of the tourist-oriented services, the major cruise lines collect and keep about 90% of the revenue generated for their services, so the “owners” of the businesses have to pay their bills and try to show a profit from the pittance handed over from the cruise industry. The easiest way for them to survive in these small cost-competitive industries is to hire work permit holders willing to work for less than minimum wage, and who aren’t likely to complain if some months their pension or health benefits aren’t paid.

    One way out of this conundrum and to get currently unemployed Caymanians back into jobs they can perform at a livable wage is for our legislators to pass laws that prohibit the cruise industry from exerting undue influence over local business. That should happen around about the same time they announce that government has been repaid for getting the Rhapsody off the rocks. But for a start, they could demand $5 for every visitor to Stingray City and use those funds for protection of the marine environment. This is very cheap compared to what the Italian government charges for every individual who wants to enter the Blue Grotto on the Isle of Capri.

    • Ron Ebanks says:

      John you’re completely right , and the government is to be responsible for all of what is happening to the Environment and the Islands and the People/caymanians . But it’s too sad that those politicians can’t see anyone else except themselves and who is paying them .

      • Anonymous says:

        If any part of the reef is damaged the DOE should confiscate the boat and hold it until the damaged reef is paid for. So sick of this carelessness.

    • Anonymous says:


      You got that third paragraph spot on.

      The Cayman Islands are the latest of a number of places I’ve been employed in as an ex-pat on a work permit and going through the WP process I noticed an interesting anomaly – Immigration never checked that I was actually qualified to do my job. Everywhere else I’ve been they demanded extensive proof of both my experience and qualifications. If that is typical it means watersports operators can recruit cheap ex-pat staff who not only have no training or experience but possibly can’t even swim. One thing I can tell from a recent trip I did – some of them can’t speak English and in an emergency situation that’s a recipe for chaos.

      But you’ve also tagged the main culprits here – the cruise lines. When I speak to anyone involved in the local watersports industry they’ve got one simple bitch, “We’re being screwed by the cruise ships!” I can’t verify this but the figures they give me suggest that the cruise lines are making an 800% mark-up on things like Stingray City trips. So the passenger pays $90 but the Caymanian business only gets $18 – there’s not only something very wrong there but it raises serious questions about why you should be hanging the future of these islands on the cruise trade.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Insurance doesn’t pay out on negligence. They are screwed

  14. Anonymous says:

    Wow allot of gossiping going on and people should learn to not speak about things unless its a fact!
    I agree that someone should be responsible but we dont know that facts about how it went down.

    • Anonymous says:

      We know for a fact that the Jolly Roger should have been moved to a safe place TWICE recently. I couldn’t believe it when I saw her out on the stormy waters again. Anyone could see she was likely to be in danger there.

      This would NEVER have happened under Charger’s watch (the former underpaid under appreciated Captain) before she was recently sold.

      • Captain Roger Swartz, Ex Captain of the Ayacanora. says:

        Charger knew that boat better than anyone. He is still a great sailor and shipmate. A smart business man should buy that vessel and get her refitted. She could work anywhere. She was USA flag and I’m sure she could be again.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Jolly Roger for sale in 2016/17 and now on reef twice in one months. ???????

  16. Anonymous says:

    Funny how people can destroy all this coral in negligence and not so much as a slap on the wrist comes out of it, but god forbid any poor Caymanian take one lobster out of the water out of season.

    • Anonymous says:

      Damn I liked your comment too quickly. Both should be reprimanded with a strict fine and possible jail.

      • Anonymous says:

        Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve. Fining the poor Caymanians and threatening them with prison? You must be one of those yard fowl cops.

  17. Anonymous says:

    That’s OK…. All they had to do was pay $75 dollars for a license and bingo, they are an operator…. The insurance money better go straight to a reef replenishment initiative before the owner gets a dime for the vessel.

  18. Ron Ebanks says:

    I believe that the people of Cayman Islands should demand/make sure that DOE treat everyone like how they treated Mr. Allen when his mega yacht anchor destroyed coral , if not it would show favoritism and disregards to the underwater environment by everyone .

  19. Anonymous says:

    So these clowns can’t keep a boat moored, which gives way to more questions.

    How are they able to keep people safe on excursion when they don’t already know the basics of seamanship?

    Are they in financial trouble and trying to collect insurance and be done?

    Who oversees this disaster that now is shown to be negligence x2 and will be able to investigate and fine/impound the ship.

    Sad times, I loved going on the Jolly Roger with friends every now and again. Well, I haven’t gone for years because it got scummy. So guess I’m not surprised. I did prefer the Valhalla. Anyone know where that ship went?

  20. Anonymous says:

    What do you expect will happen if you hire someone to captain your ship who is unfamiliar with Cayman waters and weather? Every tour and pleasure boat operator on this island for the past 50 years knows that if you moor your boat on the west side, you must constantly monitor the weather so you can move to safe harbour at a moments notice. Did this captain not know that? The inexperience of the captain (who lives aboard by the way) is painfully obvious.

    Once is an accident. He should have learned from the first incident and developed a “hair-trigger approach” to moving that boat. Twice is negligence, pure and simple.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I trust the owner will be fined for any damage to the reef, as Paul Allen was?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Jokers like this should not be allowed to operate on the water without knowing what they are doing. They should be properly trained in the water the same as we are trained to drive a car on the road. We have to know where we are going. there are pan-shoals etc. that need to be avoided and protected.
    get a grip.

    • Sharkey says:

      you should be careful not to make uneducated comments, the last time it was cut free and it had new mooring lines a month ago…this is beginning to look like sabotage!

      • Anonymous says:

        Rubbish. Leaving the boat out there through two bouts of bad weather and failing to move it to a safe place is negligence.

        • Anonymous says:

          JR was most likely disabled after the first grounding , hence why it could not move for the passage of the recent depression/storm that spawned Michael. If that was the case though, the owners could have had it towed into North Sound for security. Other operators moved their boats to their safe anchorage in North Sound, so the regular commercial operators were all able to enact their safety plans, even for a storm that posed minimal threat for Grand Cayman. The JR’s operators are obviously unable to manage the vessels security and operation in a safe manner , the entire thing looks like amateur hour. Needless to say, the photos of it sunk at Lobster Pot have been streamed allover the internet. Does not cast a good light on Caymans tourism product, from the perspective of boat & attraction tours.

    • Ron Ebanks says:

      I think that this is the most careless despicable action I have ever seen from a boat owner and Captain in my whole entire life .A hurricane passing by the Island and you leave your ugly pirate boat anchored in a unprotected harbour like GT .
      Then to say over at the Compass that the boat was tampered with the last time , it got grounded in GT harbour about 2 weeks ago .
      So that statement over at the Compass looks like they are trying to build their insurance collection case , but I hope that DoE and the Insurance company looks at this point , and don’t pay off , and DoE fine them for every piece of coral that was destroyed by the boat .

      This is the kind of things that causes everyone’s insurance premiums to go up in cost to the responsible boat owners .

  23. Anonymous says:

    I bet they’ve got it well insured ;-/

  24. Anonymous says:

    I worked on a yacht slightly larger than this that was used for day cruises on the Red Sea and, because it was too large to go in the local marina, we had a dedicated storm mooring. If the weather kicked up (we’d get what were called ‘South Storms’) it went out to that and stayed there crewed up until the weather settled down.

    This is just p*** poor seamanship. Makes you wonder how safe this boat is doesn’t it?

  25. Anonymous says:

    Its the private sector what do you expect? Don’t worry CIG to the rescue.

  26. Retired sea-captain says:

    I stood in the car-park beside Da Fish Shack last night around 10pm and watched the imitation pirate ship on its mooring. Why was no-one aboard keeping anchor watch? Why was the ship not moved to safer waters?
    To break a mooring once may be misadventure, to do it twice raises serious questions: I wonder how much the hull is insured for.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Who is the owner?

    • Ron Ebanks says:

      Why the pirate ship didn’t move when everyone else knew that weather was coming . And the pirate ship wrecks but no one else did . That’s a easy case Ms Gina, absolutely carelessness and negligence , so access and throw the book at the owner ,or it will continue and get worse .

  28. Rum'un says:

    DOE should have their asses keel hauled for this.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why? It’s the owners responsibility to ensure his vessel is secure. Whoever the idiot is, they need to be keel hauled, along with Port Authority for not insisting it moved to safer waters.

      • Anonymous says:

        I understand that the Port did indeed speak to them about moving it prior to this happening.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think you misunderstood. I believe they meant DOE should keelhaul them. Could someone put the owners name in print? This is GROSS negligence.

    • gilliejessie says:

      Not DOE’s jurisdiction. Port Authority sitting in their offices watching the whole thing and doing nothing!

  29. Kadafe says:

    I hope they will be made to pay for all damages caused. Twice in one month? You not taking this seriously at all. Send them a bill, maybe then they will take it seriously.

  30. Anonymous says:

    the writing was on the wall when they doubled the price for locals a few months back. everyone i knew said they would not go on it again.


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