Investigation begins into Thailand’s latest maritime incident off Chumpon
Thailand has logged another maritime mishap with the fire on a passenger ferry, about 5 kilometres off the coast of Chumpon. The sea conditions were reported as “rough” at the time of the incident off the uninhabited Koh Thong Lang.
This time 20 people were on board, but the 18 passengers jumped into the water and were all rescued. A 30 year old man suffered burns to about 50% of his face and remains the in Chumpon Hospital. A 20 year old woman received a wound on her chin, and other passengers had mild injuries like bruises and burns. Three others received moderate injuries and the rest with only minor scrapes as they hastily evacuated the burning vessel. No deaths were reported.
The vessel departed the Lomprayah pier at about 2pm with 20 on board. The vessel can carry up to 30 passengers. About 20 minutes into the journey the fire started off Koh Thong Lang. The ferry was heading in a south-easterly direction towards the southern Gulf islands of Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao.
An investigation is pending.
The incident happens in the same month, where four years ago, two tour boats sank on July 5 off the south east coast of Phuket. 46 mostly Chinese tourists died in the incident.
A sudden storm, which had been forecast earlier in the day, and seen on radar as it approached the southern Thai island, caused the capsize of the two vessels, and subsequent sinking of the dive and tour boats.
46 people died and 3 were missing, as the double-decker tour boat “Phoenix” slipped beneath the waves. The vessel was carrying 101 people at the time, including 89 tourists, as it returned from a diving tour of Koh Racha. All but 2 of the passengers were Chinese. The captain and crew were the first onto the lifeboats as terrified passengers were stuck downstairs.
Another boat, the ‘Serenita’, also capsized in the same storm. All 42 passengers aboard that vessel were rescued. Despite preliminary investigations into the incident, including the revelation of a long list of design faults of the Phoenix boat, no one has been convicted of any offences over the past four years.
Read more about that incident HERE.
In June 1995, the floating dock at Phran Nok ferry pier in Bangkok capsized after over 100 passengers overloaded the structure’s weight-bearing ability, resulting in 20 deaths and 37 injuries.
Every year there are numerous fires, collisions and ‘near misses’ of Thai vessels as successive governments promise to crack down on safety regulations and enforcement.
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