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Opinion: Co-operation is key to keeping us safe

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuriphat Theerakulpisut, 47, originally from Trang province, is chief of the Phuket Marine Office. He graduated from the Merchant Marine Training Center in 1986.

Here, he talks about the duties of the Phuket Marine Office, and the changes and problems he has seen and encountered during his time as chief.

PHUKET: It could be said that the Phuket Marine Office is like a tiny version of the Marine Department headquarters in Bangkok, because we have so many responsibilities and tasks to manage.

Our responsibilities include but are not limited to: registering and renewing boat licences; checking boats and ensuring that they are being maintained properly; investigating and putting an end to any illegal maritime activity; maintaining the safety of all forms of marine transportation; and cooperating and coordinating with relevant local, national and international agencies and organizations.

We also have a large sea and coastal area under our jurisdiction, including Phuket, Koh Naka, Koh Rang, Koh Maphrao, Koh Sireh, Koh Hei, as well as far off islands such as Koh Racha Yai and Koh Racha Noi.

No matter how many responsibilities we have, or how many islands we have to look after, we always put the safety and comfort of tourists first. In the meantime, we help to promote the development of marine transportation.

So much has already developed and changed in Phuket during my time as chief.

For one, we have completed the second phase of setting up a Vessel Traffic Monitoring System (VTMS) for Phuket and moved into the third phase of the project on January 23.

The VTMS enables us to track all maritime traffic. We can also determine each vessel’s nationality, agent, size and type. This system has helped us improve the safety of our marine transportation and gain the trust of tourists.

Another project I have seen come to fruition is the Phuket Yacht Control Center (PYCC) at Chalong Pier. It is the one and only dedicated center for yacht and cruise management on the island, and offers a one-stop service for all foreign-flagged boats entering Phuket waters.

Although we have seen positive changes here, we have also encountered problems.

Every project or plan in my department encounters its own issues. I manage personnel from both outside of my department and inside it. Working in large groups of people, and usually under a deadline, is not easy.

We have even had to deal and work with some gangsters in Phuket, not to mention officers of the law who do not support me or the methods by which I work. Working with foreign tourists has its downsides as well.

However, I have a philosophy that has seen me through my time as chief: To be consistent and persistent with my work in every aspect of my career.

My one wish is for all Phuket people and foreign tourists to follow my team’s directions. They are on duty to protect you and help keep you happy.

I would be very much appreciated if everyone could look after their own safety by simply following the rules.

For example, if you are travelling in a boat, you must wear a life jacket at all times. You never know when an accident might happen.

One happy memory I have is from November of last year, when we issued a weather warning for an incoming storm. We made it clear that marine transport would be at risk. Most of the boats heeded our warning.

I was so impressed – I want every day to be like that one.

I want to end by saying thank you to everyone who cooperates with the Marine Office.

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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