On the dramatic season eight premiere of the Bravo series, two of the yachties—Chief Stew Tumi Mhlongo and Stew Kyle Viljoen—were missing from the episode because of visa problems entering Italy. And in addition to Captain Sandy Yawn's crew issues, one new teammate made a shockingly unexpected exit from the M/Y Mustique before the first charter guests even arrived.
While trying to verify Bosun Ruan Irving's yachtmaster credentials, Sandy was shocked to learn the papers allegedly belonged to someone else. Explaining that the entire ship could get detained over one crewmember's falsified documents, the captain immediately called Ruan to her office.
"The officer just had me scan this," she told him on the Sept. 25 episode. "Is this really you?"
After someone else's photo appeared in the database, Sandy told the bosun, "Whoever issued this, it's not yours. Where did you go to school?"
While a hesitating Ruan claimed he got his yachting credentials in Monaco, the Captain was quick to fact check him. "No, you can't get your yachmasters on a boat in Monaco," she responded. "They don't have a school in Monaco."
Left with no other option, Sandy left the South Africa native at the dock in Genoa until she could verify his yachtmaster papers so they could begin their first charter.
But Ruan's credentials weren't the only obstacle he faced on day one. During the premiere, he was also devastated to learn of the passing of a loved one back home.
"One of my best friends just died," he shared with Deckhand Luka Brunton while sobbing over the tragic news. "He's the only friend I've known since this big that's been through everything with me. He had a head-on collision with a bus. I feel like I'm gonna pass out."
In a confessional, Ruan elaborated on why the loss was so heartbreaking.
"My friend passing away, he was not just a friend, he was a brother," he explained. "Good or bad, he was by my side. If I think back to eight years old, every memory is with that guy. I didn't really grow up with parents. My dad died when I was young, so it really wasn't about family, it was more about friends that I grew up with. Right now, I don't even know where my head's at, what to think, what to feel. I've lost someone who means so much to me."
And the news ultimately led to Ruan calling Sandy from shore to drop a bombshell.
"Sorry about this captain, but I don't think I'm gonna get the tickets sorted in time and I don't want to hold the vessel up any longer," he told her over the phone. "I'm just gonna go home and I don't think I'm gonna come back."
He added, "I'm kind of just deciding to call it quits and just head back to South Africa."
See if Sandy can find a replacement bosun when Below Deck Mediterranean airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on Bravo. Keep reading to relive the most dramatic departures in Below Deck history.
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