Family of billionaire Ottawa Senators owner sues yacht firm citing ‘odorous, ill-tempered’ captain

Eugene Melnyk, pictured, and his girlfriend Sharilyne Anderson had chartered the $420,000-a-week Dream to spend Christmas in the Bahamas with loved ones

Eugene Melnyk, pictured, and his girlfriend Sharilyne Anderson had chartered the $420,000-a-week Dream to spend Christmas in the Bahamas with loved ones

Eugene Melnyk, pictured, and his girlfriend Sharilyne Anderson had chartered the $420,000-a-week Dream to spend Christmas in the Bahamas with loved ones

The family of the billionaire Ottawa Senators owner are suing a superyacht company for $10 million, after they say their luxury Bahamas cruise left guests ‘violently ill and subject to false imprisonment’ by the ‘odorous, ill-tempered’ British captain.  

Eugene Melnyk and his girlfriend Sharilyne Anderson had chartered the $420,000-a-week Dream to spend Christmas in the Bahamas with loved ones, CBC first reported. 

But two lawsuits filed in southern Florida federal court – on behalf of Anderson and Melnyk’s mother Vera – claims the voyage left passengers ‘violently ill and subjected to false imprisonment’.  

After requesting a change in the route the suit claims the captain ‘appeared angry and resentful that a charterer would deem to intrude on his alleged specialized knowledge, experience, and authority’, the suit alleges. 

But Chris Fertig, an attorney for the yacht company, said the change was ‘a physical impossibility’, adding : ‘It would have been nice had the boat been able to go the inland route. But you can’t. I think he [the captain] did his best. You know, they all were safe. The boat is safe.’ 

The area Melnyk and his family had requested to travel through has depths of between 2.4 and 6.4 meters, data shows; the yacht has a draught of 3.6 meters. 

Lawyer Fertig also provided letters of thanks he says were written by ‘The Melnyk Group’.

Vera and Anderson are seeking $5 million in damages each. They say this is for negligence, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress. 

DailyMail.com has contacted the yacht owner and Melnyk for comment.  

 Sharilyne Anderson and Eugene Melnyk are pictured. The pair claim the yacht captain – named as Captain Niel Heselton – was ‘odorous, ill-tempered, curt and dismissive’ with passengers during the Caribbean trip 

But two lawsuits filed in southern Florida federal court - on behalf of Anderson and Melnyk's mother Vera - claims the voyage left passengers 'violently ill and subjected to false imprisonment'. The Dream is pictured

But two lawsuits filed in southern Florida federal court - on behalf of Anderson and Melnyk's mother Vera - claims the voyage left passengers 'violently ill and subjected to false imprisonment'. The Dream is pictured

But two lawsuits filed in southern Florida federal court – on behalf of Anderson and Melnyk’s mother Vera – claims the voyage left passengers ‘violently ill and subjected to false imprisonment’. The Dream is pictured 

NHL owner Melnyk, 61, a resident of Barbados since the 1990s, and his partner Anderson, who both live in Toronto, had set sail on the Dream on December 22 to escape Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic

NHL owner Melnyk, 61, a resident of Barbados since the 1990s, and his partner Anderson, who both live in Toronto, had set sail on the Dream on December 22 to escape Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic

NHL owner Melnyk, 61, a resident of Barbados since the 1990s, and his partner Anderson, who both live in Toronto, had set sail on the Dream on December 22 to escape Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic

The 12 passenger yacht is described online as 'luxury' with an 'opulent interior and unique on board lifestyle' which 'accommodates the needs of the most discerning guest'

The 12 passenger yacht is described online as 'luxury' with an 'opulent interior and unique on board lifestyle' which 'accommodates the needs of the most discerning guest'

The 12 passenger yacht is described online as ‘luxury’ with an ‘opulent interior and unique on board lifestyle’ which ‘accommodates the needs of the most discerning guest’

Chris Fertig, an attorney for the yacht company, provided a letter of thanks he says were written by 'The Melnyk Group'

Chris Fertig, an attorney for the yacht company, provided a letter of thanks he says were written by 'The Melnyk Group'

Chris Fertig, an attorney for the yacht company, provided a letter of thanks he says were written by ‘The Melnyk Group’

NHL owner Melnyk, 61, and his partner Anderson, who both live in Toronto, had set sail on the Dream on December 22 to escape Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Canadian citizen Melnyk has been a resident of Barbados since the 1990s and told CTV: ‘In terms of travel, myself and my family complied with all public health protocols and laws in Canada and abroad and continue to do so.’

The 12 passenger yacht is described online as ‘luxury’ with an ‘opulent interior and unique on board lifestyle’ which ‘accommodates the needs of the most discerning guest’. 

But Melnyk’s loved ones claim in their suits the captain – named as Captain Niel Heselton – was ‘odorous, ill-tempered, curt and dismissive’ with passengers. 

It also alleges he was ‘outright angry and abusive to the crew’. They say they suffered ‘panic attacks’ and ‘abuse’ as a result.  

But Melnyk's loved ones claim in their suits the captain - named as Captain Niel Heselton in the suit - was 'odorous, ill-tempered, curt and dismissive' with passengers

But Melnyk's loved ones claim in their suits the captain - named as Captain Niel Heselton in the suit - was 'odorous, ill-tempered, curt and dismissive' with passengers

But Melnyk’s loved ones claim in their suits the captain – named as Captain Niel Heselton in the suit – was ‘odorous, ill-tempered, curt and dismissive’ with passengers

It also alleges he was 'outright angry and abusive to the crew'. They say they suffered 'panic attacks' and 'abuse' as a result

It also alleges he was 'outright angry and abusive to the crew'. They say they suffered 'panic attacks' and 'abuse' as a result

It also alleges he was ‘outright angry and abusive to the crew’. They say they suffered ‘panic attacks’ and ‘abuse’ as a result

After requesting a route change the suit claims the captain 'appeared angry and resentful that a charterer would deem to intrude on his alleged specialized knowledge, experience, and authority', the suit alleges. It also claims he 'sought instead to punish the charterer and his party for their insolence through intentionally piloting the yacht into the open ocean'

After requesting a route change the suit claims the captain 'appeared angry and resentful that a charterer would deem to intrude on his alleged specialized knowledge, experience, and authority', the suit alleges. It also claims he 'sought instead to punish the charterer and his party for their insolence through intentionally piloting the yacht into the open ocean'

After requesting a route change the suit claims the captain ‘appeared angry and resentful that a charterer would deem to intrude on his alleged specialized knowledge, experience, and authority’, the suit alleges. It also claims he ‘sought instead to punish the charterer and his party for their insolence through intentionally piloting the yacht into the open ocean’

Melnyk's loved ones claim in their suits the captain - named as Captain Niel Heselton in the suit - was 'odorous, ill-tempered, curt and dismissive' with passengers

Melnyk's loved ones claim in their suits the captain - named as Captain Niel Heselton in the suit - was 'odorous, ill-tempered, curt and dismissive' with passengers

Melnyk’s loved ones claim in their suits the captain – named as Captain Niel Heselton in the suit – was ‘odorous, ill-tempered, curt and dismissive’ with passengers

The suit also states that the captain was ‘was easily flustered and overwhelmed and seemed completely unfamiliar with the area, the crew or the vessel’. 

After requesting the route change the suit claims the captain ‘sought instead to punish the charterer and his party for their insolence through intentionally piloting the yacht into the open ocean’. 

That led to a ‘harrowing 10-15 hour ordeal’ in which the couple ‘became violently ill, vomiting throughout the night’, according to the suit.    

And after picking up passengers – including Melnyk’s mother, Vera, – the suit claims the problems continued with guests suffering ‘violent bouts of vomiting and illness’. 

The suits adds ‘the passengers were again subjected to hours of rough sailing, some having to crawl on all fours to be able to safely walk the decks of the ships.

‘The seas were so rough that an improperly secured deck chair on the upper deck of the vessel crashed into the glass partition above the dining area, raining down shards of broken glass that narrowly missed the guests but caused severe emotional distress over the likelihood of being injured.’ 

On the day the trip was set to end the complainants allege the captain insisted on sailing back to Nassau, instead of letting everyone off at Exuma island, ‘asserting speciously that the waters were too rough’. 

This so called ‘false imprisonment’ led to ‘panic attacks, trauma, fear of death by drowning [and] fear of boarding vessels of any kind’, the suit adds. 

‘Less mobile passengers, like Vera, were functionally prevented from moving for fear of severe physical injury,’ the suit states.  

One of the defendants, Gurmeet Ahluwalia, said of the captain: ‘He’s been around the world. Every charter he has done the people have praised him and his ability and capability and what a wonderful time they had with him.’

Link hienalouca.com

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