An Australian cruise operator has come under fire for mistakenly leaving a passenger behind on a remote beach.
According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), charter company Ahoy Buccaneers has received a prohibition notice from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's (AMSA) following the June 2017 safety breach.
"As they were bringing their passengers back on board their main boat it appeared that one of their passengers had been left behind, unfortunately, for a brief period of time," AMSA manager of compliance, David Marsh, told the ABC.
"It was brought to their attention by another operator. So yes, the vessel did come back around and pick up that passenger, but yes quite concerning that they'd left someone behind," Marsh said.
The incident occurred in Western Australia's Kimberley region after more than a dozen passengers had been dropped off to see Aboriginal rock art.
The remote Raft Point site is where the passenger wandered from the track and is located 110-plus miles from the nearest town and inaccessible by road.
"The most important thing here to remember is that a head count would have identified this, so whether the vessel left or whether it didn't is not really that important," Marsh added. "The point is that they were unaware that that person was not aboard their boat...it is serious, there's no doubt about it."
Ahoy Buccaneers has since gone on the defense, downplaying the incident and the potential risk to the traveler. The company said the MV Oceanic would never have departed without all of its guests.
However, ABC reports the cruise agency has been cited twice in as many years for issues pertaining to the dinghy's seaworthiness, stability, electrical wiring and firefighting equipment.
The company was forced to temporarily suspend operations in September 2015 and again a year later as a result of a lack of safety equipment aboard its vessel.
Marsh said the prohibition notice signals the company's last chance to demonstrate its commitment to safety.
Launched in 2015, Ahoy Buccaneers offers an affordable cruise option for tourists to Kimberley, with eight-day itineraries starting at $1,500.