Captain Sandy is now aware of Tumi Mhlongo and Natalya Scudder‘s ongoing drama — but that doesn’t mean she’s going to fix the problem for them.
During a new episode of Below Deck Mediterranean, which aired on Monday, October 16, Tumi and Natalya’s issues continued to escalate. Before Sandy was alerted to the problem, Natalya told Kyle Viljoen about her latest outburst toward Tumi.
“I love [some] good gossip. But I am realizing that my involvement has made the situation worse. I shared with Tumi how my time went with Natalya [during season 7]. And Tumi’s response was, ‘I know you’re mates with her, but she needs to stay in her lane. Tumi losing her s—t will end in her walking off because she had a diva moment,’” Kyle, who told Natalya that Tumi claimed she would fire her, explained. “I am really good at getting information. My biggest problem? I am not good at keeping the information. It’s not good. Trust me, I know.”
Sandy, meanwhile, realized Tumi and Natalya were at odds during her own conversation with the chief stew.
“It’s nothing you need to worry about,” Tumi said about her problems managing Natalya. “I am a bit worried because [with] Natalya, it is just constant resistance. I feel like I came [onboard] and she was like, ‘I don’t like her. I don’t want you here.’ Honestly Sandy, that’s how it felt.”
The captain chose not to directly confront the conflict for her employees. “I’m going to let you handle it. And if you need me, you will call me. But I am going to ask you … I know it is hard for someone to adjust. I agree. If your approach is one of kindness, you will win. Instead of one of authority,” Sandy told Tumi. “If it doesn’t change then come to me and I will talk to her.”
Sandy went on to offer Tumi some insight on how Natalya may be feeling.
“As the second stew, everyone loves you, but when you become the chief, that is when the love isn’t there,” she noted. “To lead, you are not always going to be popular. How many people like their boss? There’s growing pains of figuring out how to work together. They just have to get through this initial uncomfortability. If it becomes a bigger issue, then I will step in.”
The tension between the stews kicked into high gear as soon as Tumi joined the boat during season 8. She didn’t come on board until the second charter — which initially made Natalya the chief stew. However, Natalya’s attempts to hand off the role to Tumi created an immediate rift between the coworkers.
Sandy was subsequently forced to step in during Monday’s episode when Tumi and Natalya started yelling at each other.
“First and foremost, thank you for everything you did. [But] I can’t tolerate this,” she explained to Natalya, who clarified, “I gave a very nice handover and she straight away started nitpicking and texting Kyle behind my back.”
Tumi tried to offer her side of the story, which started with her mocking Natalya’s comments. Sandy, for her part, was not amused by the situation.
“That is not OK. You do not make fun of people while I am in the room,” Sandy said. “You’re in a leadership role and you need to rise above and figure this out because right now I am ready to put you both off the boat.”
Sandy broke down her management approach to the cameras, adding, “You have to respect each other in the workplace. You can’t do this. This is behavior that can’t happen. In this situation I need to defuse it but then you need to step away and let the leader handle it. Because if I draw the line for them, they are never going to respect each other. Having said that, if I hear Natalya screaming at Tumi again and Tumi can’t defuse it, then I need to step in and make a decision.”
Later in the episode, Tumi admitted that her “unprofessional” text contributed to the tension because of how it got “twisted” her words by the time it got back to Natalya.
“I’ve never met someone that lies like this. She said that I said to you that I’m not afraid to fire her? That’s not what it said. What did you tell her about the text?” the Below Deck Down Under alum asked Kyle. “I never said that I have no problem firing her. That’s not my job. Am I the Captain? How can I fire you? And I don’t know if it is her or Kyle. I don’t know where this is coming from. And it’s frustrating.”
Sandy ultimately met with Tumi and Natalya individually to offer them advice. She reminded Tumi to “keep trying” when it came to leading the interior team. Meanwhile, Sandy told Natalya that “communication” is important in the workplace.
Tumi and Natalya’s first conversation after their explosive fight didn’t end well though. Their talk happened as Sandy was also having trouble with her deck team when they couldn’t pull off a successful docking.
“This is not good. Oh hell no,” Sandy told the cameras. “This is our first charter with a full team. Everything should be easier to operate. Clearly, that is not the case.”
Below Deck Mediterranean airs on Bravo Mondays at 9 p.m. ET.