During the Wednesday, October 4, episode of his “Salty With Captain Lee” podcast, the reality star weighed in on Captain Sandy removing a bosun during the season 8 premiere because his paperwork raised several red flags.
“When you pull into a foreign port as a captain you are subject to flag state inspection — depending on what flag you are flying — by the office there. They can come onboard at any time and go through the whole vessel. Not only the personnel but the boat itself,” Lee explained to his cohost Sam DeCavalcanti about what led to Sandy being alerted to look at Ruan Irving‘s documents.
Lee noted that there was a “gray area” due to the license Ruan submitted.
“I wasn’t aware that a bosun needed a Yachtmasters certificate, which is not the same as a U.S. Coast Guard license which is recognized everywhere in the world,” he continued. “A Yachtmasters license is only recognized on white boats, which are charter boats and privately owned yachts. They are not recognized on commercial vessels.”
On the September 25 episode, Sandy realized Ruan handed over a “not certified” medical license. He admitted he didn’t have the originals on him and asked a friend to send them in the mail. Later in the episode, Sandy received a call from the Port Authority because Ruan’s Yachtmasters had someone else’s photo attached to it when scanned online.
“You have got to be freaking kidding me. This is someone else’s picture on Ruan’s certificate. This is major, this is like a whole different level. This is not OK,” Sandy said in a confessional. “The entire vessel could be arrested because of one crew member.”
Ruan couldn’t provide an adequate explanation, saying, “On one of the boats because the ticket expired, we needed to get a ticket done quickly. A guy came on the boat and he issued us our tickets. I have been on boats for three years with that same ticket and I swear to God the last thing on my mind is that the ticket was false.”
Due to the confusion, Sandy asked Ruan to leave the boat to search for the proper documentation. He subsequently called her after they left the dock and said he had no plans to return.
“Sorry about this captain but I don’t think I am going to get the ticket sorted in time. I don’t want to hold the vessel up any longer, I am just going to go back home and I don’t think I am going to come back,” he told Sandy over the phone. “I am kind of just deciding to just call it quits and just head back to South Africa. I am just going to go back home and sort out what I need to sort out.”
According to Lee, the issue should have been addressed when production “vetted” the documents for the cast.
“The only person who is responsible for everything that happens on that vessel is the captain,” he said on Wednesday. “Port State Authority don’t give a s—t [if you are filming a show]. That is not putting money in their pocket. They don’t care.”
The Below Deck alum — who is now starring on Bravo’s Couch Talk with Kate Chastain — also questioned how Sandy didn’t catch the error, adding, “Why didn’t she match that when looking at his credentials? I have no idea. I am looking at everyone’s credentials and I am scrutinizing anyone that gets on my boat. I am responsible and I take that seriously.”
Lee, however, made it clear that he doesn’t think Sandy intentionally ignored concerns about Ruan.
“It is her issue. She gets whatever award she gets for missing [the problem]. It is the captain’s responsibility. To me, it would be so embarrassing to hand over documents that I hadn’t examined first. Do I think she was trying to pull a slick one? No,” he noted. “It doesn’t make any difference because she is ultimately responsible.”
He concluded: “I am sorry she had to go through that but that is a lesson well learned. Trust but verify.”
Below Deck Mediterranean airs on Bravo Mondays at 9 p.m. ET.