An afternoon cruise aboard the popular party boat MV Dream Chaser came to a bloody end yesterday because of a stabbing incident that sent passengers into a state of shock and panic.
The four-hour ISSA VYB cruise was coming to an end at around 4:50 p.m. and the vessel was preparing to dock at Cavans Lane in Bridgetown when things turned ugly.
Barbados TODAY understands that an altercation among a group of men escalated, and one patron broke a glass bottle and repeatedly struck another cruiser, leaving him battered and bloodied.
A series of videos which have gone viral on social media capture the attack, with some of the recordings showing a group of men assaulting a youngster while a woman can be heard in the background screaming, while other videos show at least two men bleeding profusely.
The promoters of the event swiftly took to Instagram to apologize for the incident in a post which read: “We the host of ISSA VYB would like to apologize for the unforeseen event which took place causing the cruise to end abruptly. We also hope that no one was hurt in the midst of those uncalled for actions.”
While police continue to investigate the circumstances that led to the bloody skirmish, captain and part-owner of the MV Dream Chaser John Moore told Barbados TODAY management of the vessel was angry over the stabbing.
Moore also suggested the attack was the culmination of a dispute which began long before cruisers boarded the vessel.
“The incident that took place is pretty much something that has been going on within the society, which is apparently a group of guys who came on board who had [past grievances]. It just happened they ended up on the vessel yesterday together,” Moore said.
“As management and a businessperson we have put a lot into this vessel. The Barbadian public comes out and enjoy themselves and they felt bad, as well as my business partners.
“We are not happy with what took place because this is now six months that we were on the water and we put a lot into the boat, so having an incident like this extended to the public in the worse way is not something we are happy with.”
Moore said as a result of yesterday’s stabbing his management team had decided that from now on all drinks would be served in plastic cups, placing a virtual ban on serving bottled drinks.
“As management we sat down last night and we came to an agreement that we will do our part in terms of trying to deal with the perpetrators that caused the disturbance on board.
“Just to make the public feel more comfortable in moving forward, one of the things that caused the problem yesterday was having bottles on board where the bars were selling drinks with bottles. We have made a decision that we will no longer accept bottles on board to the patrons. All drinks will now have to be transferred from the bar into plastic and there will be no exceptions,” he said.
Moore revealed a maximum of eight security guards were assigned to the boat but said “before the security could actually get around to this situation, it had already escalated”.
“When something gets to that point where people are running all over the place you really aren’t sure what is happening. It is hard to contain a situation when you are not sure where it is coming from. That was the problem. If it was something that we saw unfolding our security could have dealt with it early,” he stressed, while hinting at even tighter security on future cruises.
“Moving forward from here incidents will happen but it is how you deal with them. This one got out of hand and we obviously have to look at security. We will sit down with our security and assess what happened and whatever changes have to be made we at Dream Chaser will make them to ensure that going forward the public is satisfied.
“It would make the cruise boat look bad to some extent, however, the public have to be reassured that changes will be made to ensure safety. We want the public to be happy when they come on board our boat and promoters will be comfortable doing work with us,” Moore stressed.