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WAOW Liveaboard Lost to Fire after Storm in Indonesia
By Ian Bongso-Seldrup, February 2, 2018 @ 03:00 AM (EST)

The founders of the MSY WAOW luxury liveaboard have confirmed that their boat was lost yesterday after a fire broke out during a storm in Cenderawasih Bay on the northern coast of Papua—but neither crew nor passengers were hurt.

A statement on the WAOW website from Michel Deville, his wife Julia, and their friend and co-founder Gérard Schoch announces the sad news and thanks everyone involved in making their vessel one of the most well-regarded liveaboards in the region. But typical of the grit and determination of the people with the entrepreneurial skills to bring a liveaboard like the WAOW to life, they end on a positive note: “Like diamonds, the WAOW is, at least in our memory, eternal. But life goes on, with new opportunities for each of us: seize them and enjoy them.”

In that spirit, to the WAOW team we would like to send our sincere condolences but also our heartfelt thanks for the very memorable experience DPG also enjoyed aboard their exceptional boat.

Read the full statement from Julia, Michel and Gérard below.



We are very saddened to communicate to you all that our magnificent WAOW burned and sank last night (Jan 31st to Feb 1st) in a storm in Biak Harbor. Fortunately, there was no loss of life or physical injury.

Our WAOW was born from a dream. Although a “young maiden”, she had become legendary. This was confirmed by the very marked success she achieved on the occasion of the recent European trade fairs, as well as in the testimonies that have been pouring in the past hours.

Our sincere gratitude goes first to our crew, their enthusiasm to provide the services we wished to offer on board, and the exemplary courage they have been demonstrating throughout this sad event. They have shown their affection for their WAOW of which they and we have all been so proud.

A big THANK YOU to all of you who have trusted us and manifested your appreciation by living and sharing “the WAOW adventure” with us. We shall remember the pleasure of welcoming you on board and spending happy and memorable moments with you. Good times!

Our special thanks and gratitude goes to the people who have actually “made the WAOW”:

  • Hadji, the incomparable Pinisi boat builder with the ancestral experience, and to whom we owe the magnificence of the WAOW;
  • Wulan, our first employee who gave her smile and all her soul to the service of all;
  • Andrew, our former director, who ensured the follow-up of the construction and the first years of operations;
  • Reto, our new director, who took over brilliantly, with his marine biologist skills, his experience as a diver, his knowledge of Indonesian cruise leader, and his natural goodness;
  • Stéphane, who, thanks to his skills, found always the answers and solutions to your and our problems of stewardship and organization;
  • Steff, our exceptional cameraman, who produced the beautiful videos that will remain the witness of all that we have seen and experienced in the underwater world.

Finally, THANK YOU to all of you who have allowed us to realize and live our dream.

Like diamonds, the WAOW is, at least in our memory, eternal. But life goes on, with new opportunities for each of us: seize them and enjoy them.

Julia, Michel and Gérard



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