Heavy rains close Gulf ferries, Surin Islands for 2 days

PHOTO: Surin Islands are closing for 2 days, along with many ferries, due to heavy rains and winds. (via ZuBlu)

Heavy rains, high winds and thunderstorms have ferries cancelled and areas closing down for the next few days in the south of Thailand. In the Gulf of Thailand, all ferry services between the mainland and Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao have been suspended for two days. On the Andaman Sea, the national park on the Surin Islands has closed to tourists for today and tomorrow.

The Thai Meteorological Department forecasts heavy rains in the south of Thailand with a strong Northeast monsoon sweeping across both the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. The southern provinces received possible flash flood warnings with overflowing waterways caused by heavy rains as well as swelling waves of up to four metres from the seas. Krabi, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Pattani, Phatthalung, Satun, Songkhla, Surat Thani, Trang, and Yala provinces are all expecting severe weather today and tomorrow.

SURIN ISLANDS

An announcement from Mu Koran Surin National Park yesterday said that thunderstorms hitting the Andaman are expected to produce huge waves up to four metres high, Nation Thailand reports.

The park is off the coast of the Phang Nga province near the Burmese border, and is made up of five islands: Kai, Klang, Ri, Surin Nuea, and Surin Tai. Closing due to weather is not unusual there. In fact, they close every year from May 1 to October 31 when the area usually experiences its heaviest rains each year. The announcement warned of the dangers of the big rains.

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“To ensure safety among tourists and prevent damage to people and property, Mu Ko Surin National Park will be temporarily closed on December 18 to 19.”

EAST COAST FERRIES

Meanwhile, in Koh Samui and its surrounding islands, all major ferry operators have cancelled services today and tomorrow. Seatran Ferry and Raja Ferry, which travel between the islands and also to the mainland at Donsak Pier, put out announcements via social media and their apps and LINE accounts.

The Seatran Ferry sent an announcement to everyone following their LINE account (via Seatran Line)
The Seatran Ferry sent an announcement to everyone following their LINE account (via Seatran Line)

Seatran explained that the Marine Department had put out a warning order and said that the province was ordered to suspend all ferry services. Raja Ferry used particularly bizarre wording to say they were “pleased to announce that our ferries must stop operation.”

Raja Ferries are pleased to announce the 2-day closing. (via Raja LINE)
Raja Ferries are pleased to announce the 2-day closing. (via Raja LINE)

Ferry services offered to refund or rebook those holding tickets for today and tomorrow. On Facebook groups, people were spotted panicking that they would miss their flight and asking for advice about booking private boats to Samui. Commenters were quick to point out that, even if it weren’t illegal to defy provincial orders, if the waters with two- to four-metre waves aren’t save for large car and passenger ferries, it would be extremely dangerous to cross the gulf in a tiny boat.

The official forecast from the Meteorological Department for the south of Thailand is as follows:

  • South (east coast):
    • Upper part
      • Cool mornings with a 1- to 2-degree drop in temperatures.
    • Lower part
      • Scattered thundershowers and isolated heavy to very heavy rains in Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat provinces.
    • Temperatures will range from lows of 19-24 degrees to highs of 28-32 degrees. Waves will reach two to four metres, rising further during thundershowers.
  • South (west coast):
    • Scattered thundershowers and isolated heavy rains in Krabi, Trang and Satun provinces.
    • Temperatures will range from lows of 22 to 25 degrees to highs of 30 to 33 degrees.
    • Waves will reach one to two metres along the coastline and two to four metres further offshore, rising above four metres in thundershowers.

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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